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The Women of Pitcairn Island

The Women of Pitcairn Island(1957)

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FULL SYNOPSIS

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On the day that the last of the mutineers of the H.M.S. Bounty is buried on Pitcairn Island, Maimiti, the widow of Fletcher Christian, the leader of the mutiny, takes up the mantle of leadership and pronounces that the women must now be responsible for their own lives and the lives of their children. When Hutia, a tempestuous widow, informs Maimiti that she needs a man in her life and intends to snare Maimiti's son Thursday October, Maimiti protests that Hutia is too old for the boy and admonishes her to stay away from him. Thursday is attracted to Nanai, one of the village girls, and incurs the jealousy of Charles Quintal, the disgruntled son of a mutineer who went insane. One day, a lone, shipwrecked sailor named Coggins climbs ashore from the sea and buries a satchel of priceless black pearls in the woods. As Charles watches from a distance, a wild boar gores Coggins to death. After hiding Coggins' body in the brush, Charles digs up the pearls. Hutia, meanwhile, cajoles the naïve Thursday into saying that he cares for her. At sea, a lifeboat of squabbling sailors discuss the disappearance of their navigator Coggins along with the bag of pearls. After spotting the island, the men--Ben Fish, the Spanisher, Dan Scruggs, Sam Allard, Muskie and their leader, Jeb Page--row to shore, certain that Coggins has sought refuge there. As the men scamper up the rope ladder that extends from the sea to the cliffs of the island, Hutia accuses Nanai of chasing after Thursday, who she claims is hers. Censuring her son for leading on two women, Maimiti insists that he select one, and he chooses Nanai. While strolling in the woods soon after, Thursday is attacked by the sailors but breaks free and runs to warn the villagers, after which Maimiti directs everyone to the meeting house to await the intruders. Once they arrive, Maimiti sends Thursday to speak with them, but the roughnecks ridicule him and demand access to the women. After Maimiti intervenes, the men retreat to the woods, and Thursday and the other boys establish a watch post and find Coggins' body. While eavesdropping on the men, Thursday overhears them discussing the pearls and their plan to attack the village after dark. That night, Hutia comes to the sailors' camp and Jeb claims her as his woman. Hutia then tells them that the villagers are hiding in the stockade and directs them there. When Jeb and the others arrive at the gates of the stockade, Maimiti warns that evil will bring its own punishment. Incensed, the scoundrels attack and breech the walls, but the villagers drive them back. Later that night, Hutia sneaks into the stockade and tells Thursday that the seamen have stashed a keg of gunpowder in the storage bin. The villagers possess guns but lack gunpowder, so Thursday and three other boys raid the bin, only to be captured by Jeb and his men. Jeb then sends one of the boys to Maimiti with the message that all three will be killed unless the women surrender. After the boy delivers the ultimatum, Charles, feeling guilty for bringing the evil-doers to the island, shows Maimiti the pearls. Soon after, Maimiti leads the women to the sailors, and after the boys are released, Maimiti and her minions attack the sailors with clubs. After Thursday grabs the gunpowder, they all flee to safety. Aware that Hutia is a traitor, Maimiti lays a trap by having Thursday dress in Coggins' clothes, and then arranging for Hutia to watch from a distance as he hands a pearl to her. After snatching the pearl from Maimiti's hand, Hutia tells Jeb about seeing a sailor in the woods. Thinking that the man is Coggins, Jeb schemes to seize all the pearls for himself. His plan is overheard by the others, who, after clubbing Jeb to death, torture Hutia. Afterward, a gravely injured Hutia stumbles into the stockade, and with her dying breath, begs for Maimiti's forgiveness. The vengeful Maimiti then plots the sailors' demise. As the scoundrels scour the woods for Coggins, Thursday, dressed as Coggins, lures them, one by one, into the brush, where they are shot by the women. Ben and Scruggs are the lone survivors, and after Scruggs stabs Ben, the boys pursue him. At the bluffs above the sea, Scruggs shoots Charles and then begins his descent down the ladder. Near death, Charles hacks at the ladder with his knife. Thursday then arrives and follows Scruggs down the precarious ladder. Just as the rope breaks, the other boys arrive and grab the dangling end, saving Thursday, but plunging Scruggs to his death. With evil vanquished, Thursday and Nanai are wed.