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When wealthy French heiress Tracy Mallambert travels to Athens to hire an unscrupulous captain named Carson to smuggle her into Communist-held Albania, the captain refuses, warning her that the country is overrun with secret police. Later that evening, Carson is forced to flee the police in his yacht after his drunken deck hand, Mike, becomes embroiled in a tavern brawl. Once at sea, he finds a persistent Tracy in the wheel room. Already en route to Albania on other business, Carson agrees to take Tracy for an inflated fee. The next morning, Carson returns to the yacht after telegraphing his Albanian contact and finds Mike assaulting Tracy. At first, Carson caustically refuses to help the self-assured woman, but finally subdues Mike. Humbled by the incident, Tracy reveals that she is looking for her brother Henri, a western diplomat rumored to have become a Communist. The next morning, the yacht arrives at a rocky hillside in Albania where Carson's contact, Kol Stendho, takes them to a fishing hut and introduces Tracy to the "trade" in which Carson is involved: the smuggling of Greek children out of Albania. Four trembling Greek children are awaiting safe passage to Greece, having been left behind or kidnapped during the Communist takeover. Carson begrudgingly agrees to escort Tracy to Vosjev, where Henri is being held, and leaves the children to wait for their return. He then orders Mike to return with the yacht the following night. En route to Vosjev, Kol shoots a checkpoint guard and then hastily drops Carson and Tracy off to continue on alone, knowing that other Communist soldiers will soon be in pursuit. As they walk into the deserted town, Tracy hears someone playing the church organ and runs into the vestibule, where Henri, now blind, is seated at the keys. Her brother explains that when he tried to commit suicide while in Communist custody, government officials blinded him and sent him to Vosjev to keep him quiet. Moved by the young man's tragedy, Carson agrees to smuggle Henri out of the country. After introducing Tracy and Carson to his young friend Abdyll, Henri takes them to the Countess of Valona, who asks that they smuggle her granddaughter Mara, Henri's lover, out of Albania as well. When the group reaches the fishing hut later that day, two military guards hold them at gunpoint. In the ensuing fight, Carson punches one guard out and knocks a gun across the floor. After Tracy shoots the other guard with the gun and drops it, Abdyll picks the firearm up to use as a toy. The group, now including the Greek children, then flees into the barren hillside, where a gracious farmer and his wife invite them to eat and stay the night. Later, Carson, softened by the children's request to wish them goodnight and Tracy's motherly care, intimates that he undertook the journey out of his love for Tracy. The next morning, the farmers add their own children to the group, who continue towards the border. After the group accepts food at a shepherds' camp, several jeeps filled with security guards catch up to them and load them in trucks. Believing they are about to meet impending doom, Tracy tries to get Carson to admit his feelings for her and the children. Suddenly an Albanian guerrilla army of mountain horsemen ambushes the caravan of security police trucks. The bandit's captain, clad in a conglomeration of German, American and Albanian uniforms, boastfully introduces himself as Trifon and insists that Tracy accompany him on his horse, while the others travel with his men back to a hidden village of Albanians. Later that evening, when Tracy returns Trifon's brusque kiss to make Carson jealous, Carson suddenly points his gun at Trifon. After Trifon also pulls out his gun, his father wisely forbids any more kissing for the evening. The next morning, Trifon blackmails Tracy into staying with him in the village in exchange for providing the rest of the group safe passage out of Albania. Later, Trifon and his soldiers accompany the group to within a half mile of the border, where Communist security guards are stationed. When Trifon's bandits attack the guards below, giving the group a chance to escape through a heavily guarded checkpoint in the cliffs above, Trifon refuses to climb the dangerous cliff face to disperse the guards with grenades. While Carson tackles the cliff, Tracy insists that Trifon prove his bravery before she will return with him to the village. High above, inexperienced mountaineer Carson falters in his steps, causing rocks to fall on the guards, who begin shooting at him. To prove his bravery, Trifon orders his bandits to ride directly into the guards' fire and attack them. After being mortally wounded, Trifon deliriously raves about disarming the Communists as he dies in Tracy's arms. With their path now clear, the group reaches a border station bearing Greek signage in the morning. When the station turns out to be a Communist ruse, guards return the group to the fishing hut, where Kol, now posing as a Communist dressed in an officer's uniform, interrogates Carson. Soon after, in a moment alone, Kol hands his own children over to Carson and assures him that he will help them get through the guards and board the yacht safely when Mike arrives. A security guard, having overheard the plan, holds Kol at gunpoint as they approach the dock where the yacht is waiting. With over a dozen armed guards hidden in the cliffs above ready to stop the smugglers, Tracy realizes the plan has failed. As she bends down to hug the children, Abdyll secretly hands her his gun, which she slips to Carson. Holding a security guard at gunpoint, Carson safely loads the children on the yacht. When the guard shoots Kol, surrounding soldiers begin firing. From the dock, Carson helps the wounded Kol onto the boat and returns fire on the guards while ordering Mike to push off. As the boat takes off, Carson jumps into the water and is pulled aboard to safety by a towline. Later on the boat, Carson embraces Tracy and jokes that families are trouble, but suggests he would gladly start one with her.