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Mutiny and Redemption on the "Bounty"

On April 28, 1789, Lieutenant William Bligh, commander of the H.M.S. Bounty, was awakened by men who "seizing me, tied my hands with a cord and threatened instant death if I made the least noise." Bligh called out anyway, but all of the ship's officers were guarded by mutineers. Bligh was then "carried on deck in my shirt, in torture with a severe bandage round my wrists behind my back, where I found no man to rescue me."

Anyone who has seen either the 1935 or the 1962 version of this story likely thinks Bligh had it coming. He was a sadistic villain, and the dashing leader of the mutineers, Fletcher Christian (Clark Gable/Marlon Brando), was doing everyone a favor. The reality was more complicated—and the ending much more surprising.

When the mutiny occurred, the Bounty was en route from Tahiti, where its crew had collected breadfruit ...

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