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In the mid-19th century in the South Seas, Capt. Raikes of the ship The Southern Cross blasts an island with cannon fire, intending to frighten the natives and make them easy to capture for the slave market. Raikes, first mate Brown, and other crew members row to shore in a long boat, unaware that they have been spotted by Hurricane Smith, Dan O'Hara and Brundage, three stranded adventurers who have befriended the natives. After Raikes and company disembark, a native sabotages their long boat, while Hurricane, Dan, Brundage and a flotilla of Polynesians row to The Southern Cross and board it. The ship's remaining crew is quickly overwhelmed and sent overboard, and Raikes and his men are abandoned onshore. Once at sea, Hurricane tells Dan and Brundage that they are headed for northern Australia, then will be sailing to the island of Dakaru. Hurricane explains that some years before, he buried a half million dollars in gold on Dakaru before being unfairly arrested for piracy. Hurricane convinces Dan and Brundage to become his partners, but when they finally land in Australia, they are without funds. In a bar, however, they are approached by Eric Gorvahlsen, who claims to be a scientist in search of a ship. Following Hurricane's instructions, Dan introduces himself as the captain of The Southern Cross , now called The Lady Betty , and Gorvahlsen hires Dan to transport his scientific expedition through the South Seas. Moments later, Raikes and Brown, who have sworn revenge against Hurricane, burst in looking for him. Hurricane, Dan and Brundage jump the slavers and take them prisoner on The Lady Betty . The next day, Gorvahlsen arrives at the ship with his companions, Dr. Whitmore and Whitmore's half-Polynesian daughter Luana, who is also Gorvahlsen's lover. As Hurricane had suspected, Gorvahlsen is actually a fellow adventurer and is plotting with a somewhat reluctant Whitmore to acquire Hurricane's treasure, which he knows is on Dakaru. Like Raikes and Brown, Gorvahlsen has never seen Hurricane, who is onboard posing as a seaman named Jim Tyler, and assumes that Dan is Hurricane. Gorvahlsen instructs Luana to flirt with Hurricane in order to get information about Dan, and Hurricane quickly deduces Gorvahlsen's mistake. Luana and Hurricane are genuinely attracted to each other, and Luana admits to Gorvahlsen that she is apprehensive about their scheme. Raikes and Brown, meanwhile, have been released from the brig and ordered to work, but they start a knife fight with Brundage and fellow sailor Clobb. Dan breaks up the fight and returns Raikes to the brig. Sometime later, the ship stalls in the windless sea, and while trying to cool herself on the deck railing, Luana falls into the shark-infested water. Hurricane jumps in to save her and, after a fierce struggle, stabs an attacking shark to death. During the excitement, Brundage inadvertently calls Hurricane by his real name in front of Gorvahlsen, who pretends not to notice and invites Hurricane to join him later for a drink. Before Hurricane arrives, Gorvahlsen informs Luana about his discovery, and although she now wants out of the deal, Gorvahlsen demands that she continue to help him. To that end, Gorvahlsen instructs Luana to ply Hurricane with gin, but she slips him water instead. Privately, Luana warns Hurricane that Gorvahlsen plans to take over the ship and knows his identity. As the ship is now close to Dakaru, Hurricane decides to sneak to shore to prepare the natives for Gorvahlsen's arrival. Gorvahlsen, meanwhile, drinks and arm wrestles with the crew, trying to secure their allegiance, and orders Dan to anchor off Dakaru. Brown then persuades Gorvahlsen to join forces with him and order Dan to release Raikes. With Raikes free, Dan decides to go ashore to warn Hurricane, and the next morning, his unexplained absence creates tension among the crew. Hurricane sneaks back unnoticed, but is unable to stop Brown from fomenting dissension onboard. Matters come to a head after Hurricane is tossed in the brig, and Clobb kills a superior. Armed, Gorvahlsen takes over from Matt Ward, Dan's first mate, and Clobb encourages the rest of the crew to arm themselves. In the commotion, Hurricane is released and rushes to warn Luana, who is almost attacked by a lecherous sailor. Gorvahlsen then tells the crew about the gold and convinces them to help him claim it. On the island, Gorvahlsen, Brown and Raikes force Hurricane to lead them to the spot where the gold is buried, and he begins digging. Unaware that the natives, led by Dan, have surrounded them, the thieves gleefully uncover Hurricane's treasure chest and are about to open it when Dr. Whitmore, fed up by the greed and violence around him, spears Gorvahlsen to death. The natives then spring out of the brush, and a fight ensues. Finally, Hurricane, Dan and Brundage subdue the mutinous crew, and Hurricane and Luana embrace.