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Whip Hoxworth returns to Hawaii with a boatload of indentured Chinese laborers to find that his grandfather has died, leaving his fortune to Whip's cousin, Micah Hale. Unwilling to work for Micah, Whip establishes his own plantation with the help of the Chinese laborers, including Nyuk Tsin and Mun Ki, a couple who were brought on the boat. Milton Overpeck, an engineer, persuades Whip to drill for water, and when the well succeeds, irrigation becomes possible for the previously barren land. Whip gives Nyuk some land, and with her help, he turns the plantation into a prosperous pineapple enterprise. Purity, Whip's Hawaiian wife, is not happy, however, and leaves to rear their son Noel in native Hawaiian fashion; and Nyuk goes to a leper colony with her husband when he develops the dread disease. Many years later, Nyuk, whose children are now embarking on prosperous careers, returns to the island and finds Whip living with a Japanese mistress. When Queen Liliuokalani, the sovereign of native Hawaiians, tries to reestablish her dominion over the island, Whip succeeds in deposing her, and Micah is appointed president of the new Republic of Hawaii. Disaster strikes again, however, as a plague hits, and the Chinese ghetto is burned to the ground to prevent the spread of infection. Whip offers to help rebuild the burned section of the city and to help restore the financially ruined Nyuk. Finally, both agree to a marriage, which they had previously opposed, between Whip's son Noel and Nyuk's daughter Mei Li.