Bunting spread talk of mutiny, but his messmates would have none of it. Frustrated and hungry, he broke into the hold; however, he was soon found and caught.
For his theft, Bunting was made to run the gauntlet, and Hornblower, who claimed responsibility for Bunting's actions on account of not stopping him when he'd overheard him earlier, had to lead him through.
Bunting later hid in a boat and tried to escape when Hornblower, Tapling and a few other men went ashore at Oran for supplies. He was caught again, and put in irons on the Caroline, though Hornblower later allowed him to help.
Still Bunting wanted to get away, and saw his opportunity to desert when the men went ashore for water. Hornblower ran after him, threatening to shoot him if he didn't stop. Bunting did stop, but forced Hornblower to shoot him anyway.
Hornblower felt guilty about Bunting's death even after they returned to the Indefatigable, feeling he had failed to find a way inside the man. Captain Pellew tried to reassure him, telling him that he had still saved many lives by bringing back the supplies.