Sir John Mills and James Mason star as two long-time rivals. Brett (James Mason) is the nephew of a wealthy uncle, and envied by Clifford Southey (John Mills), a clerk for the firm. Brett's cool and privileged demeanor make Southey constantly jealous, so when Brett is appointed to Southey's regiment where he has been in charge for a long time, Southey is fearful of the effect this will have both on his authority and his self-esteem. Sure enough, Brett becomes an instant hit and undermines Southey's control. When Southey discovers that Brett is indulging in a spot of black-market trading, he informs the authorities. Disgraced and ousted by his family, Brett sets off for Australia. Southey thinks he has won, but the rivalry is far from over.
A former army officer travels to Tahiti with the purpose of building a resort hotel there. His efforts are stymied when he encounters his ex-commanding officer already living on the island.