This fourth film dramatization of the 1789 mutiny aboard the H.M.S. Bounty is based not on the familiar Nordhoff and Hall book, but on Richard Hough's novel Captain Bligh and Mr. Christian. This time, the infamous Captain Bligh (Anthony Hopkins) is as strict a disciplinarian as ever. He is, however, no monster; faced with his crew's increasing laxity after an idyllic visit to Tahiti (the search for breadfruit takes second place to limitless sex with the island girls), Bligh is forced to resort to flogging and other such means to keep his men in line. Mr. Christian (Mel Gibson), formerly Bligh's friend, is of little use to the captain, having fallen in love with a native girl himself. Christian becomes the leader of the mutiny virtually in spite of himself; and when the mutineers try to seek refuge on Tahiti, they find that the local chief wants no part of them, which is why they settle for the nearly uninhabitable Pitcairn.