Six people sail from San Diego on a bright sunny day, on a giant luxury yacht.
Christmas break present day.
Jules and Steve are wealthy financiers.
Sarah is their statuesque single female friend from Harvard, a field-marine biologist, a strong, self-reliant quiet lady.
Jim and Bobbie are the man and wife who built the ship, short and stout, talkative, jovial, adventurous, and knowledgeable about the inner workings of the ship.
The sixth, Karl, is their good-looking African-American Doctor, recently recovering from a painful divorce.
The 6 are are planning a pleasant week of adventure sailing to the pacific isles.
That night,mduring the watch of one of the financiers, a serious storm drifts them off course to a deserted island.
They awake with holes in the boat, not knowing where they are.
The debate rages about what to do next.
The financiers calm the others, sure that rescue will be found.
The shipbuilders design and construct temporary housing in the tropical trees.
The biologist finds some enjoyment in surveying the local vegetation and animal life to identify possible dangers.
There are no large animals, and it seems safe.
The doctor tends to their wounds.
The financiers, Steve and Jules, go out for a late night walk, talking.
They end up swimming together in the beach, and making love.
They are lovers, yet they have wives and grown children at home.
Their marriages have for some time been shams to protect their corporations and their reputations.
They lay on the beach and talk, very happy together.
Steve says to Jules, "This is so funny- it's like that fantasy we had - that you and I would be lost on a desert island- free from all the worries of our work and the charades..."
Jules "I know - isn't it great?"
Steve gets a glimmer of what he is later to realize- Jules has had a psychotic break and has taken the fantasy seriously.
Jules has intentionally shipwrecked them, planning to take the boat to another island and live there with Steve until they can go to Thailand, reclaim their secret bank accounts, and live 'happily-ever-after."
Jules chose the ship's complement to foresee all of the dangers they might face - two shipbuilders who love adventure anyway and wouldn't mind too much.
A biologist and doctor to protect them from exposure, who Jules has wanted to fix up with each other for a long time.
Tons of food, guns, clothing, and other supplies to cover the eventualities.
Jules has thought of everything - except how wrong it all is.
It is learned that Jules' friends have set up huge life insurance policies for the 6 travelers, paying out hundreds of millions of dollars to their families.
The men begin getting sick.
The doctor can't figure out why - the symptoms are like radiation poisoning.
Walking in the forest, they are confronted by 6 men in radiation suits.
The crew are rushed to Los Angeles.
The island was the site of a 1963 nuclear test by the U.S. government.
Everything on it- the fish, the animals, plants, ground, water, is deeply contaminated by plutonium.