The movie opens up with a chicken hawk and a bald eagle soaring in the sky. The hawk falls out of the sky and the eagle saves him, but they disturb a canoe in the process. The eagle named White Eagle tells the chicken hawk about his pupil, the young Native American princess Pocahontas, as they land. He introduces the princess to the chicken hawk named Fluffy Wing who is an animal guide in training. He tries to give her a lecture, but she's too fascinated with the world around her to pay attention. Just then, all three of them notice a fleet of ships sailing their way and they take cover.
In the safety of theforest, Pocahontas watches a group of men emerge from the ships. One of them, the vicious and despondent Mr. Gains, demands that they hunt in the forest, but another, John Smith, tells him no. Instead, they should respect the Native Americans and not attack them if they don't want to be attacked. Pocahontas immediately shows interest in him, but White Eagle tells her that she shouldn't associate with him. He then says that they should go back to the village. Fluffy Wing reminds them about the Feast of the Golden Harvest, an important festival for Pocahontas' village. They reach the river, only to find Pocahontas' eccentric but naïve, friendly and noisy canoe named Dug gone. They find him and convince him to get back in the water and get them to the village. Once they finally reach the village, the festival begins.
Later on, both the males and females of the village participate in a race through the forest and finish back in the village. Pocahontas gets the attention of a mean boy named Bright Fire who mocks her victory. She decides to challenge him to a race, which he accepts. Thinking Pocahontas won't win, Fluffy Wing and Dug try to slow Bright Fire down, but Pocahontas tells him to get back up. Fluffy Wing is confused by this and questions it, but White Eagle catches him. In the end, Pocahontas ultimately wins and Bright Fire accepts defeat.
At the end of the festival, White Eagle notes that the settlers have decided to stay. Fluffy Wing asks him where the settlers came from, but White Eagle doesn't have a proper answer for him. They both fly back to the village to listen to a concil meeting in the village. Pocahontas walks in and hears her father announce that he won't allow the settlers to hunt or garden on their land. Pocahontas tries to tell him to help them, but he refuses to listen to her and wrathfully forbids her to see them.
The next day, Pocahontas sneaks off to the settlement. She overhears Mr. Gains complaining about eating mainly fish instead of game meat, but John Smith tries to reason with him. Unfortunately, he badly but stunningly refuses to listen to him. John Smith plans to tallk to Chief Powhatan, but Gains and two of the settlers set off to hunt. However, some of the Indians spot them and start firing arrows at them. Gains shoots one of them and John Smith goes into the woods to finvestigate.
Back at the village, Pocahontas discovers that John Smith has been captured and will be executed for the murder of the Indian. Pocahontas pleads for her father to spare his life, but he's taken away. That night, she asks the White Eagle for advise and he tells her to listen to her heart. Before John Smith's execution, Moccomac tells Chief Powhatan that they shouldn't kill him, but he dismisses it. Right before John Smith is beheaded, Pocahontas steps in and saves him, angering her father. White Eagle reveals that because Pocahontas saved John Smith, he's now her slave and new best friend in love for the rest of his life.
Meanwhile, at the settlement, Gains and other settlers raid the supplies from the stockade. The cook pleads for them to stop, but they ignore him. Gains plans to use up all their supplies and hunt in the winter, despite the agreement they have with the chief.
After a few months, Pocahontas continues to teach John Smith about her culture, but he discovers a belt she was making for him. She then confesses that she loves him, which shocks John Smith and White Eagle. Pocahontas is hurt when John Smith doesn't return her feelings. She then asks him if there's another woman and he says yes, hurting Pocahontas' feelings even more. Fluffy Wing thinks that John Smith doesn't love Pocahontas, but White Eagle tells him that JohnSmith does love Pocahontas. It's because of the current conditions that he can't return his feelings. Heartbroken, Pocahontas tells him to leave.
When John Smith returns to the settlement, he discovers the raided stockade and terrified cook. Once Gains finds out that Smith has returned, he locks him in the stockade containing gun powder and sets it on fire. It's reavealed the next day that he is killed and returned to England where his wounds would be treated. That winter, Pocahontas talks to her father about giving the settlers some food. Despite his resentment towards Smith, he allows her to take food to the settlement. When she presents the food to the cook, she officially introduces herself to the cook. He sadly tells her that Smith talked about her, but he didn't talk about her before he left. For the next few months, Pocahontas sulks and barely hangs out with Fluffy Wing and White Eagle. They try to cheer her up, but she doesn't seem to change.
In the spring, Gains and other settlers go after Pocahontas and throw her in a cabin, holding her as a captive in exchange for land. Chief Powhatan sends his warriors to rescue her, but the settlers get the upper hand with their guns. One night, White Eagle and Fluffy Wing try to break her out, but she's too depressed to want to be free. They're chased off by a couple of settlers before they can change her mind.
Years go by and Pocahontas is still Gains' prisoner. One day, a man comes by the settlement and he forms a relationship with Pocahontas. They spend some time together until they decide to get married, which forms peace with the settlers and Indians. After their marriage, Pocahontas' husband decides to take her to England with him. While there, she has difficulty fitting in, questioning everything about their culture. That night at a ball, Pocahontas finds out that John Smith is alive an has talked about her. This startles her and she claims she's tired, convincing her husband to leave.
The next day, her husband tells her that he will go back to Virginia, but he drowns at sea. Like with Smith, she becomes depressed and sulks until one day, she sees a ship pulling into the harbor. She races to the docks and reunites with John Smith who takes her back to Virginia. Once back home, the village celebrates and Pocahontas and John Smith finally get together.
- Unlike the first Disney film, this has John Smith and Pocahontas end up together.
- Unlike the sequel, John Rolfe (his name is not mentioned) dies at sea. Also, in contrast to the real story of Pocahontas, he and Pocahontas never have any children and Pocahontas doesn't die.
- This version doesn't include Kocoum, Pocahontas's real-life suitor. The one character that closely resembles him is Bright Fire.
- Fluffy Wing and White Eagle act as Grandmother Willow, Meeko and Flit.
- Mr. Gains is similar to General Radcliffe except he's not in Virginia for the gold, but instead, he wants the liberty to hunt without permission.
- Pocahontas in this film is closer to her real age when she met John Smith.
- When Pocahontas interrupted Chef Powhatan's meeting, he turns his head to the left when she was on his right.
- They never showed how Pocahontas survived her inprisonment.
- Pocahontas' name means "playful", but here, it means "quick river".