powered by AFI
As soon as he checks into a hotel in Porto Olieno, Mexico, New York bookkeeper Edward Dawson is accosted in his room by thug Cappy Gordon. Although Dawson denies Cappy's charges that he has betrayed their boss, gangster Vic Spalato, who is under investigation by the U.S. Senate, Cappy shoots the bookkeeper in cold blood. The next day, in San Cristóbal, Spalato's former girl friend, singer Clare Sinclair, reads about Dawson's murder in the newspaper and panics. While arranging to leave town, Clare, who now goes by the name Sheppard, spots Cappy in her hotel lobby and flees in a cab, eventually ending up at a bullfight arena. There, as American boxer Russ Lambert prepares to fight his Mexican challenger Rivera, Clare seeks out her boss, bar owner Felipe. Desperate for cash, Clare sells Felipe a valuable pair of earrings, then watches as Russ, whose career in the States crumbled after he accidentally killed an opponent, wins the match. Just then, Clare sees Cappy among the spectators and hurries out of the arena. Doggedly, Cappy follows Clare through the streets and into a telegraph office, stopping Clare from sending a telegram to the Senate committee, stating that she will testify against Spalato. After Cappy declares his love and offers to spare her life if she runs off with him, Clare bolts from the office and heads for Felipe's bar. By threatening to expose Felipe to Cappy, Clare convinces Felipe to persuade Russ to meet her at the secluded Posado de Don Pascual. There, Clare encourages Russ's romantic interest, but does not tell him about Cappy or Spalato. When Russ suggests they take the funicular to La Cumbre, an isolated, mountaintop village, Clare eagerly agrees. In La Cumbre, the couple enjoy a quiet drink and stroll through the marketplace, unaware that Cappy, who forced Felipe to tell him Clare's whereabouts, is nearby. They then watch a provocative dance, performed by a young man and woman, whose older husband Vasco drags her off in a jealous fury. Upset by the sight, Clare and Russ head toward the hotel where they will be spending the night, and in the moonlight, Russ kisses Clare. After Russ reveals that he is aware of her relationship with Spalato, Clare confesses that she is attracted to him but is not free of her past. The next morning, at the hotel, a newly confident Russ announces that he is resuming his career in the States right after he boxes his next match. Russ persuades Clare to accompany him, but his phone call to his manager, Charlie Malloy, is overheard by Cappy, who then confronts Clare. Afraid that Cappy will shoot Russ, Clare agrees to go with Cappy, on condition he leave Russ alone. Later, Russ discovers that Clare has checked out and dashes to the funicular, jumping aboard just as it is departing with Clare and Cappy, as well as Vasco, who has been arrested by policeman Hernandez for killing his wife the night before. Still unaware of Cappy's mission, Russ questions Clare about her change of heart, but she refuses to tell him why she is abandoning him. Halfway down the mountain, Cappy tries to accost Clare on the car's parapet, but Russ comes to her rescue, and Cappy is disarmed. After Clare finally tells Russ the truth about Cappy, Russ and Cappy start to fight, causing the car to sway dangerously. One of the cables pulling the car then snaps, completely disabling the funicular. With no other means of rescue, Vasco volunteers to try to swing on a spare cable to the nearest cliffside and climb down for help. Vasco's attempt fails, however, and he plummets to his death. Russ tries next and succeeds, but after he goes, one of the other passengers, Englishman Mr. Woburn, declares that only six people will fit in the rescue car, and the disabled car's cable will not last long enough for a second run. After three men are chosen to stay behind, including Woburn and the conductor, Cappy grabs Hernandez' gun, shooting him in the process, and announces that he and Clare are the only two who are going. Just then, Russ returns with the rescue car and jumps Cappy. The two men fight on top of the disabled car, and Russ finally sends Cappy hurtling to his death. Moments before the cable gives way, a second car arrives, and all the passengers, including an embracing Clare and Russ, are rescued.