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From his home in Newport Beach, California, former P.T. boat operator Harry Morgan rents out his private boat, the Sea Queen , to fishing parties. Harry barely manages to make enough money to support his wife Lucy and their two children, and tired of the financial struggle, Lucy continually begs him to give up the boat and move to her father's farm. One day, Harry is hired to take Hannagan and Leona Charles, Hannagan's attractive blonde friend, fishing off the Mexican coast. While in Mexico, Hannagan abandons Leona and leaves without paying Harry. Desperate, Harry makes a deal with Duncan, a shady lawyer, to transport illegal Chinese laborers into California. In order to prevent his mate, Wesley Park, from becoming involved in the illicit activity, Harry tries to send him back to the United States on the bus, but Wesley and Leona both sneak aboard the boat. Later, Harry docks the boat in a deserted cove to pick up the laborers, but when Mr. Sing, the smuggler, tries to shortchange Harry, a fight breaks out, and Sing is killed. Harry throws his body overboard and returns the Chinese men to the shore. Unknown to Harry, the Chinese, one of whom remembers the boat's name, are picked up by the border patrol, and when Harry reaches San Diego, his boat is confiscated. Later, both Leona and Duncan turn up in Newport Beach. Learning of Leona's presence, Lucy becomes jealous and, deciding that Harry prefers blondes, dyes her hair. Meanwhile, Harry almost succumbs to Leona's seductive attentions, but finally decides to be faithful to Lucy. After Duncan arranges for the "Sea Queen" to be returned, the boat is repossessed by the bank, and Harry is again forced to ask for Duncan's help. Duncan arranges for him to take two gangsters to an offshore boat after they commit a robbery. With money coming in again, Harry is able to get his boat back, and he now concocts a plan to double-cross the gangsters. When she sees him loading a gun, Lucy announces that she is planning to leave him. Nonetheless, Harry goes ahead with his plans, but Wesley becomes involved when he happens by the boat just before the gangsters arrive. After the boat is at sea, the gangsters kill Wesley and throw his body overboard. Harry uses the diversion to get rid of some of the gangsters' guns. He then fakes engine trouble, grabs the gun he has hidden aboard, and attacks the gangsters. During the ensuing fight, Harry is badly wounded. Later, the Coast Guard finds the "Sea Queen." Harry is barely alive, and a doctor asks Lucy for permission to amputate his arm. Lucy, who still loves her husband, convinces Harry to have the operation and save his life. As they leave, Joseph, Wesley's child, waits futilely on the dock for his father's return.