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After a failed attempt to capture a dangerous black leopard, safari guide and big game hunter Victor Marswell returns to his African ranch in a foul temper, only to discover that an attractive young woman has made herself at home there. The unexpected visitor, Eloise Y. "Honeybear" Kelly, tells Victor that she traveled from New York at the request of her suitor, a maharajah who has since departed for India and left her stranded. Eloise, a former showgirl, is furious when she learns she will have to wait for the following week's boat to leave Africa, but tries to make herself at home in her new surroundings. She gradually wins Victor over with her warmth, and a romance develops. Eloise also endears herself to Victor's aides, Leon Boltchak and John Brown-Pryce, who is known as Brownie. At the end of the week, Eloise is hurt when Victor abruptly informs her that the boat has arrived and orders her to pack. After bidding Eloise an awkward goodbye, Victor greets British anthropologist Donald Nordley and his beautiful wife Linda, who have come to stay at the ranch. Victor is angry to learn that Donald plans to make the difficult journey up the river to gorilla country, and refuses to accompany him personally. When Donald becomes ill in reaction to a tsetse fly vaccination, Victor ministers to him, but his callous attitude offends Linda, and she strikes him. Late that night, Donald's condition improves, and Linda apologizes to Victor for her rash behavior. Eloise then shows up with the drunken skipper, who reports that the steamer had engine trouble and will take about four weeks to repair. The following morning, Eloise introduces herself to Linda, and embarrasses the prim Englishwoman with a candid account of her romantic escapades. Linda goes for a walk in the jungle and Victor sets out after her, catching up with her just in time to save her from the black leopard. On their way back to the camp, Victor and Linda are caught in a fierce wind storm, and as Victor carries her the final distance, an uneasy attraction begins to surface between them. That night, Eloise, who had witnessed a charged moment between Victor and Linda, aims barbs at them throughout dinner, and Victor suddenly announces that he will accompany the Nordleys to gorilla country. Brownie suggests that Eloise join the safari party and catch a flight to Cairo when they reach the Kena station in the Samburu territory. The group departs, and relations are strained between Linda and Eloise, who has fallen in love with Victor. The party stops at a mission run by Father Josef, who agrees to supply canoes and men for the expedition after Victor takes part in a dangerous "ceremony of courage." Eloise takes confession with Father Josef, then apologizes to Linda, who haughtily rejects her offer of friendship. The journey continues, and when they reach Samburu territory, they find the station master badly wounded, a casualty of a native uprising that began the previous night. Escorting the injured man out, the safari party escapes the menacing natives. Later, Eloise tells Brownie that she was briefly married, but her husband was killed in the war. Meanwhile, Victor and Linda are taking a walk when they fall into a passionate embrace. Linda is extremely agitated when she returns to her tent late at night, and rejects Donald's advances. When the party reaches gorilla country, Victor, who has fallen in love with Linda, tells her that he will inform Donald of their affair the following day. While the men are preparing to trap a baby gorilla, Donald tells Victor that he fears the trip has been difficult for Linda, adding that she forgot their wedding anniversary the other night. As Donald speaks of his love for his wife, Victor realizes he cannot tell him the truth and stalks back to the camp in anger. That evening, at the observation post, Boltchak makes insinuating comments to Donald about Victor and Linda, and Donald leaves the post in a rage. Back at the camp, Eloise finds Victor drinking in his tent and deduces that he "went noble" in his encounter with Donald. Eloise is drinking with Victor and sitting on his lap when Linda comes into his tent. Seeing a way to end things with Linda, Victor plays up his caddish nature, and Linda becomes hysterical and shoots Victor in the arm. Just then, Donald returns to camp and rushes into the tent. Improvising quickly, Eloise tells him that Victor had been making a pass at Linda when she shot him. The Nordleys depart the next morning, and Victor asks Eloise to marry him.