During a storm, salvage boat skipper John Sands (Charlton Heston) runs across a mysteriously derelict freighter manned by half-crazed Capt. Gerald Patch (Gary Cooper). As Patch must answer for the fate of his wrecked vessel, this high-seas action thriller takes on the added dimension of the courtroom drama. On a leap of faith, Sands decides to help Patch make his case. But what secrets remain in the &NFi;Mary Deare&NFi_;, and was there a plot to sink her?