powered by AFI
In the small town of Laghaso, on the edge of the African jungle, American Fred Winters engages English, renegade guide Charlie Pulham to lead him to a diamond mine where he intends to purchase diamonds illegally. Shortly after they leave, Fred's wife Linda, an American movie star, arrives in Laghaso seeking her husband, and is assisted by bar owner Tony Gonzales. Meanwhile Bomba, a young man reared in the jungle with the animals, finds Jonas, a native, wounded by an attack of a black leopard, and takes him to Deputy Commissioner Andy Barnes's field station where Andy dresses Jonas' wounds. Bomba then decides to hunt the leopard before it attacks other villagers. Just as Bomba is leaving, Linda arrives with a driver who is taking her to a river landing where she expects to find her husband. Because the driver has lost his way, Andy radios the landing and discovers that Fred and Charlie have already left and are heading down river on a barge. When Linda tells Andy that there is a crisis back in Hollywood that is jeopardizing both her and her husband's futures, Bomba offers to find Fred and bring him to meet Linda at a rendezvous point. After arranging for Andy's assistant Eli to guide Linda to the rendezvous, Bomba leaves to search for Fred and Charlie, but becomes sidetracked by his hunt for the leopard. However, when the animal threatens Fred and Charlie's camp and is shot at, Bomba finally locates them. Astonished when Bomba informs him that Linda is on her way by jeep to meet him, Fred tells Bomba that he does not want to see her and has traveled eight thousand miles to get away from her. Fred then informs Charlie that, while his wife is a movie star, he works as a bookkeeper and that he is tired of being known as "Mr. Linda Winters." Bomba is angered by Fred's behavior and cuts the barge's mooring line, stalling their journey and thus enabling Linda to catch up. However, Linda and Eli are delayed when the road becomes impassable, forcing them to continue on foot. Later, the leopard threatens to attack them, but Bomba returns in time to scare it off. After Bomba and Linda become friends, he decides not to relay her husband's cruel remarks. Meanwhile, Andy receives a visit from police colleagues Maitland and Deevers, who are also looking for Fred as he is suspected of embezzling a large amount of cash from his Hollywood employers. When Bomba and Linda reach the campsite, they discover that Fred and Charlie and their two bearers have decided to walk to the mine. Bomba is then forced to admit to Linda that Fred did not want to see her. Linda explains that she had encouraged Fred to make the trip, as a trial separation, but after learning of his theft, decided to repay the money he stole and bring him back. Charlie and Fred eventually reach the mine and buy twenty thousand dollars worth of stones from Saunders, the mine's crooked superintendent. Later, when Charlie and Saunders are alone, Charlie demands one-third of Saunders' take as commission. Saunders slugs Charlie, and when Charlie draws his gun, kills him in self-defense, then conceals Charlie's body in a cave. To cover up Charlie's absence, Saunders tells Fred that Charlie intends to report him to the police and collect a reward. Fred then heads immediately for the mine's landing to escape, but en route meets Linda and Bomba. Linda tells Fred that, although she no longer cares for him and will replace the stolen money, he must return with her to clear matters up. Fred refuses and moves on, but Bomba stops him, intending to hand him over to the local police. Just then, the leopard approaches and Bomba sends Linda and Fred into a cave for safety. The leopard leaps on Bomba from a tree, but after wrestling with the animal, Bomba kills it with his knife. Fred has found Charlie's body in the cave, taken his gun and is about to shoot Bomba when Maitland and Deevers catch up with them. Maitland shoots Fred in the hand, finds the illegal diamonds in his possession and after arresting him, begins to suspect that he may have been involved in Charlie's death. Bomba bids farewell to Linda and as he returns to his jungle, she returns to hers.