A South Sea islander, Tanai, sets out on a pirogue to find a sackful of earth on another island, where he could plant a cutting of the "uru", the breadfruit tree, and settle down to raise a family.
On his journey, he braves the elements, faces hunger and thirst, survives an epic storm and shipwreck. Tanai's adventure has a magic quality, a touch of the myth of the great transmigrations: on his primitive odyssey, he meets a Polynesian Nausicaa, a Papuan Circe, he visits the ascent to the throne of the gods (Easter Island), and the descent to hell in a prison on the Trobriands.
Fact and fantasy mix freely in this fictional documentary. More than a superlatively shot travelogue, the film is a paean to the will to live, human drive and endeavour.