In December of 1787, H. M. S. Bounty sets sail from Portsmouth, England. Her destination is Tahiti, and her mission is to transplant thousands of breadfruit plants from that island to Jamaica in the hope that the plants will become a food staple for plantation slaves. The vessel is commanded by William Bligh, an experienced but tyrannical captain who quickly arouses the ire of the crew. His first officer is Fletcher Christian, a somewhat foppish country gentleman, though an excellent sailor, whose genteel family background irritates the lowborn Bligh. As a result of Bligh's disastrous attempt to reach Tahiti by rounding Cape Horn in midwinter, the ship loses a month of sailing time and arrives in Tahiti at a time when the breadfruit plants are dormant. Bligh is enraged, but the crew is delighted at the prospect of spending 4 months on the beautiful tropical isle. Once the Bounty is again at sea, trouble erupts anew. Goaded on by seaman John Mills and by his own mounting anger against Bligh's cruelty, Christian leads a mutiny and takes control of the ship. Bligh and 18 other men are set adrift in a boat and eventually reach Timor. Christian takes the Bounty back to Tahiti to pick up supplies and those natives, including his own beloved Maimiti, who wish to start a new life with the mutineers. Aware that the British Navy will soon send ships in search of them, Christian looks for a new home and eventually finds the remote and uncharted Pitcairn Island. He soon realizes that he and his men must return to England or forever be hunted as criminals, but he loses the possibility of a choice when some of the mutineers set fire to the Bounty . In a hopeless attempt to save the ship, Christian is fatally burned. Before dying, he urges his men to stifle their rebellious natures and live in peace with one other.