Young merchant seaman Jim (Peter O'Toole) signs onto a ship bound for Mecca. During a storm, the crew flees, and Jim goes with them, leaving the passengers to fend for themselves. A guilty Jim confesses to his dereliction of duty and becomes a drifter. A chance for redemption comes when he is offered a dangerous job: transporting gunpowder and rifles up the river to a village that is fending off bandits. Jim sets off to lead the fight, earning the villagers' gratitude.