During World War II, Englishwoman Stella (Sophia Loren) is involved with Capt. Ford (Trevor Howard), who commands a military tugboat. Ford's mission is dangerous because his slow-moving ship is an easy target. Eventually, he is gunned down in action and Capt. Ross (William Holden) replaces him. Before long, Ross also begins a relationship with Stella, but she warns the newcomer that she may be cursed -- captain after captain has come through her door, and each has met the same grim fate at sea.