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Short one pilot, Ellis, the greedy, heartless owner of the Trans-Andean Air Service of Delgado, Argentina, searches his files for the name of a recently suspended American aviator and finds George Wilson. When George arrives in Delgado with his bride Lee, he is shocked to discover a fleet of decrepit airplanes and a gang of washed-up, cynical pilots to greet him. Concerned for Lee's safety in the desolate, male-dominated village, George, who has a one-year contract with Ellis, suggests that she return to America. Lee, however, insists on staying in Delgado and, because he owes Ellis for travel expenses, George is unable to quit. During his first treacherous mountain flight with head pilot Smith, George, who was suspended in Connecticut when he crashed a plane while intoxicated and killed a bystander, numbs his fears with alcohol. Worried about George's drinking, Lee asks Ellis to transfer her husband to the easier coast route. Several weeks later, however, George is forced to fly the mountain delivery route with another plane, which crashes in front of him. Badly shaken by the sight, George returns to Delgado drunk and angry and accuses Lee, who has been befriended by Smith and Garth Hilton, a British pilot, of infidelity. Although Lee begs George to quit drinking, George persists until he is unable to fly his next scheduled trip. Out of love for Lee, Hilton takes George's assignment and crashes to his death in one of Ellis's "flying coffins." Filled with guilt, George confronts Ellis and accuses him of murdering his pilots out of greed. While Lee confesses to Smith that she loves him, George forces Ellis at gunpoint to join him on a flight across the mountains. As they approach the most dangerous leg of the route, George jumps out of the plane and leaves the unskilled Ellis to crash. Freed from all of their obligations, Lee and Smith pledge their love and return together to America.