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In 1739, on a remote, uninhabited island in the Caribbean, three pirates led by Captain Taursus bury a treasure chest. After El Tiburón prepares a map, he and Taursus agree to kill the sailor who has accompanied them so that they alone will know the treasure's location. However, Taursus draws two pistols, shoots Tiburón as well as the sailor, takes the map and leaves the island.Tiburón is unharmed and, although marooned on the island, swears he will wait for Taursus' return. On exploring the island with Patch, his parrot, Tiburón finds evidence of cannibalism. After he falls asleep at the entrance to a cave, he is jolted awake by the arrival of a young boy, Frank Henniker, and his seal Flipper. Frank gives Tiburón water and fruit and, later, a fish that Flipper has caught. After Tiburón shows Frank how to make a fire, Frank explains that he was brought to the island by Captain MacDonald after a shipwreck. However, MacDonald was killed by savages, and Frank's father and mother had previously been killed by pirates. Frank then takes Tiburón to the highest point on the island, where they build a wooden beacon which they can light to alert any ships passing nearby. Later, unknown to Frank, Tiburón digs up the treasure chest and hides it in a cave, but Flipper takes some of the jewels and swims off with them. Tiburón orders Frank to go after him to recover the treasure, but when Frank is threatened by a shark, Flipper diverts the predator away from him and sacrifices his life for his friend. The next day, Tiburón tells Frank about the treasure chest and his career as a pirate. Shocked, Frank remembers his parents' deaths and reacts very negatively, but his present circumstances force him to remain friendly with Tiburón. One day, they spot a distant ship, but it passes before they can light the beacon. Tiburón nevertheless remains obsessed that Taursus will return. Ten years pass, during which Tiburón and Frank create a reasonably comfortable way of life and the older man "educates" the younger. Although Tiburón keeps one bullet in his pistol to deal with Taursus, he and Frank construct a raft and plan to leave soon. When Frank discovers cannibals visiting an island cove to perform a human sacrifice, Tiburón causes an explosion and they flee. Frank discovers that the intended victim is a young woman, Nanu Ribaud, the daughter of a French trader on another island. Frank and Tiburón agree that she will accompany them on the raft. As Nanu and Frank get to know each other, he realizes that he does not know how to behave with a girl and seeks Tiburón's advice, which proves to be useless. Eventually, Nanu initiates their romance by kissing Frank. One day, unknown to Tiburón, Taursus and a few others return to the island and take Frank prisoner. After failing to find the treasure chest at the spot designated on the map, Taursus assumes that Frank has found it, draws his cutlass and demands to know where he has hidden it. Having realized that Frank is missing, Tiburón arrives at the site, much to the astonishment of Taursus. After Taursus threatens to kill Frank unless Tiburón reveals the chest's location, Taursus attempts to trick Tiburón and shoots him, but is shot and killed by Tiburón as Frank routs the others. Mortally wounded, Tiburón ensures that Frank and Nanu will be together, then dies. Soon, the couple leave with the treasure chest on one of Taursus' boats. Patch remains behind, beside Tiburón's grave.