It’s World War II and the US army has stationed a base on a South Pacific island. Soon, a young nurse, Nellie Forbush, falls in love with a middle-aged French plantation owner, Emile de Becque.
The two have a troubled romance as Nellie slowly discovers the details of de Becque’s past. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Cable arrives to head a mission to create a spy post on a Japanese-held island. Bloody Mary, the island souvenir dealer, sets Cable up with her daughter, Liat. After Cable refuses to marry the girl, Bloody Mary drags her away to find a new suitor.
Soon, Cable must begin his dangerous mission. After considerable thought and pressure, de Becque agrees to be Cable’s guide. In the end, Cable dies but de Becque survives and will live a life of happiness with Nellie.