During the War of 1812, New Orleans is the target of a major British offensive. General Andrew Jackson (Charlton Heston) feels they should ask for help from Jean Lafitte (Yul Brynner), a pirate who occupies a strategic island near New Orleans. The Louisiana governor, William Claiborne (E.G. Marshall), agrees, despite his distaste for Lafitte. Those close to Lafitte feel he should side with the British, but Lafitte becomes love-struck by Clairborne's daughter, Annette (Inger Stevens).