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Midshipman Roger Byam joins Captain Bligh and Fletcher Christian aboard the HMS Bounty for a voyage to Tahiti. Bligh proves to be a brutal tyrant and, after six pleasant months on Tahiti, Christian leads the crew to mutiny on the homeward voyage. Even though Byam takes no part in the mutiny, he must defend himself against charges that he supported Christian.
The Bounty sails from Britain for Tahiti to obtain a cargo of breadfruit plants. Captain Bligh is in charge and he over-zealously enforces discipline by various methods, his favorite being flogging. Bligh cuts rations and works his men so hard that even first mate Fletcher Christian finds him hard to comprehend. In Tahiti, Christian and good friend midshipman Byam become involved with native women Maimiti and Tehanni. Tahiti is paradise compared to life on the Bounty under Bligh. When the Bounty is loaded and sets sail to return, the harsh treatment by their Captain is too much for the crew and Christian leads a mutiny. They set Bligh and his supporters adrift on a boat and return the Bounty to Tahiti. What they did not count on is the Captain's return.
The HMS Bounty sets off on a voyage to Tahiti to collect breadfruit plants for transplantation to Jamaica. The ship is under the command of Captain Bligh, a hard task master who is greedy and harsh with the men. He is quick to judgment doesn't hesitate to use the lash. The trip to Tahiti is arduous and for most of the men, they discover a paradise there. As difficult as it is, they leave Tahiti but the men, led by the ship's second in command, Fletcher Christian, mutiny casting Captain Bligh adrift with those few who remain loyal. The mutineers return to Tahiti and resume their idyllic life but soon find that Bligh has survived and is giving chase. Capturing some of them, Bligh returns to England with some of the mutineer's who face trial while Christian and the remainder find refuge on an isolated island.