Philadelphia heiress Tracy Lord throws out her playboy husband C.K. Dexter Haven shortly after their marriage. Two years later, Tracy is about to marry respectable George Kittredge whilst Dexter has been working for “Spy” magazine. Dexter arrives at the Lord mansion the day before the wedding with journalist Mike Connor and photographer Liz Imbrie, determined to spoil things.
When a young South Seas sailor falls overboard, the beautiful daughter of a Polynesian king dives in and saves his life. Thus begins the romance of Johnny and Luana. Though Luana is promised to another man, Johnny whisks her away, and for a brief time the lovers live very happily together. But, when a local volcano threatens their lives, Luana knows that she must sacrifice herself to the volcanic gods in order to save her island.