powered by AFI
In 1271 a young Venetian, Marco Polo, answers a request of Pope Gregory X to bring the philosophy of peace to the followers of the Mongol Prince, Kublai Khan of China. Accompanied by his father, his uncle, and two Templars, Marco sets off on his mission, a journey which will take him to the Holy Land, across the mountains of Asia, and through the Gobi desert to China. En route they are captured by the cruel "old man of the mountain," who puts one of the Templars to death in an ingenious glass bell torture chamber. Only through the intervention of Sheik Emir Alaou is Marco able to regain his freedom. He reaches Samarkand, where he is reunited with his father. He then escapes an ambush by Mongolian bandits with the help of the "woman with a whip," who sacrifices her own life to save his. After crossing the Gobi desert, Marco escapes from the enemies of Kublai Khan by hiding in the river junk of Gogatine, a princess traveling to China to attend a ceremony at which a bride will be selected for Kublai Khan. Once in China, Marco learns of the dispute between the peaceful Khan and his war-minded son, Nayam, who threatens to usurp his father's power by force. Nayam's rebel forces are quickly routed in a battle in which gunpowder is used for the first time. Marco Polo remains in China for 17 years before returning home to write a book on his travels.