Dennis Carson has lived in Indochina all his life, only leaving his rubber plantation for an occasional fling in Saigon. His new surveyor, Gary Willis, and his wife Barbara arrive just as Vantine, a prostitute who has been lying low at the plantation is leaving. Vantine is in love with Dennis, whom she calls "Fred," but he only thinks of her as a pleasant diversion. Dennis is annoyed that Gary has brought his wife. Barbara is shocked and contemptuous of Dennis until he nurses Gary back to health after an attack of malaria.