Hugh Tallant (Alan Ladd) has been rotting away in a London prison with an unfounded robbery conviction. His execution date is drawing near but he and several of his cellmates are given a reprieve. They are not sure how beneficial this really is. They will be required to take a long and treacherous sea journey to New South Wales. The government needs a few guinea pigs to populate this desolate region and these guys are perfect.
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The prisoners are installed on the ship and are surprised to find that they are in mixed company. It appears as though the project will include women and children too. There, Hugh meets Sally Monroe (Patricia Medina) who is a lovely lady convicted of temptations. The two are very interested in each other much to the dismay of the lecherous Captain Gilbert (James Mason) who wants her all for himself. This thwarts Hugh's efforts to obtain the pardon he has been given. The jealous captain only wants to see him dead. This does not sit well with Sally who is more than a little fond of Hugh by now. She bargains with the captain to have him installed as ship's doctor. Hugh promptly refuses the ill begotten commission though he continues to help the other prisoners.
After a young boys dies from a wicked punishment, Hugh has had enough. He and his friend plan an escape but are unsuccessful. For this, the two are keel hauled. It's a vicious, outdated and outlawed practice but that doesn't matter to the sadistic captain. He orders it for the pleasure of seeing it done. The result, one man dies and the other lives to see Botany Bay.
Hugh arrives on the island and the conditions are terrible. There is never ending work, heat and humidity, bugs and the natives are restless. He gains audience with Governor Phillips (Sir Cedric Hardwicke) who is a caring magistrate. He agrees to give Hugh the pardon but Captain Gilbert has other plans. He is still hot after Hugh and coerces him into an escape attempt. This blows Hugh's chance for redemption.
It isn't long before Hugh has another chance to show what kind of guy he really is. A deadly plague has broken out and Hugh is the only person around with medical knowledge. It's his nature to try and save the sick but he risks contracting the fatal illness himself. Will Hugh choose to stay a prisoner on Botany Bay with his beloved Sally or will he take the chance onboard a plague ridden ship to save his reputation.
The review of this Movie prepared by Talea