Gardner McKay is a Korean War vet who stayed in the east after the war. He bought a schooner, the "Tiki", and now runs a small cargo and passenger service out of Tahiti.
Sitting in the bar the night before heading out on his latest cruise, he runs into fellow vet, David Janssen. The two were in the same unit in Korea. Janssen is down on his luck and needs a job. McKay offers him a job filling in for a crewman off at a wedding.
The next day, four passengers board the ship. There is a wealthy father and daughter, George Macready and Nina Shipman as well as Robert Foulk and Art Batanides. Onboard is also Guy Stockwell as the other crewman.
They set sail for one of the outer islands. Janssen uses the time talking to Shipman and playing chess with Macready. The daughter takes an immediate shine to Janssen. She is falling in love.
Shipman takes a book down to Janssen's room as an excuse to talk to him. Janssen happens to be on deck and Shipman looks about the room. She finds some newspapers and a note listing all her and her father's likes and dislikes.
Janssen of course now enters and Shipman fires the papers in his face and calls him a "fortune hunter". Just then, Batanides steps into the room with a large revolver in his hand. "Up on deck the both of you!" Batanides and Foulk it seems are up to a bit of larceny of their own. They intend to rob Macready of $100,000 worth of black pearls he had bought in Tahiti.
They have McKay set course to a small island a few hours away. A seaplane is meeting them there the next morning.
Once they get to the island, Batandies and Foulk hustle the bunch to a small cabin on the island. Just as they reach the hut, Janssen gets in a punch to Batanides and manages to escape into the jungle.
While Foulk ties everyone up, Batanides goes looking for Janssen whom he soon finds. Janssen bushwhacks him, ties him up, and relieves him of the pearls and his revolver.
He then returns to the cabin and dispatches Foulk with several bullets. He however decides not to release anyone. He plans on keeping the pearls and making a deal with the seaplane pilot for a ride.
The next morning, Janssen heads for the dock when the sound of an airplane is heard. He gets there after the plane has landed however. The pilot, Steve Baylor, in the meantime has found and untied Batanides.
Batanides and Baylor are now hotfooting it to the cabin to retrieve the pearls.
While all this has been going on, McKay has managed to free himself and sets off in pursuit of Janssen. The two tangle on the beach with McKay getting the upper hand.
McKay tells Janssen to do the right thing. Janssen agrees and they both return to the cabin for a showdown with Batanides and Baylor. Rounds are exchanged with the crooks getting the short end of the trade.
The pearls are returned to Macready while Shipman decides she will give Janssen a chance to prove he is a changed man.
All in all, a decent use of 50 minutes.
The director is Mitchell Leison whose work includes, CAPTAIN CAREY USA and NO MAN OF HER OWN. The d of p was Lloyd Ahern. He worked on THE BRASHER DOUBLOON and CRY OF THE CITY. (b/w)
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