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Wealthy, reckless Californian Julie Merriday, accompanied by her boyfriend Harry Lindsay, an attorney, narrowly avoids crashing into a motorcycle driven by young Ben Gunther. Ben temporarily abandons his damaged cycle and accepts a ride from Julie but insists upon calling her Barbara. Later, at the Merriday beachhouse, Julie's Aunt Sarah tells Julie that her great great grandmother was named Barbara, and furthermore, that ancestress had an illegitimate child fathered by one Benjamin Gunther. Despite her father's protestations and Ben's irrational conviction that she and he are reincarnations of the past lovers, Julie breaks off with Harry and elopes with Ben. While aboard a small ketch Ben claims he owns, Julie finds the earlier Benjamin's diary, reads of his affair with her ancestress, and realizes that Ben lied. Meanwhile, Mr. Merriday has learned of Ben's escape from an asylum for the criminally insane and his murder of the owner of the ketch. Ben, spotting a police helicopter, beaches the ketch and drags Julie to a sandblasting plant. As rescuers close in, he climbs a tower and tries to strangle the pursuing Harry, but in a fit, he plunges to his death. Once home with Harry, Julie scatters the pages of the diary onto the sea.