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On an escarpment in Africa, Tarzan, his wife Jane and son Boy watch as a plane lands in the distance. Tarzan, who fears the intrusion of "civilized" men, then uses vines to swing through the trees to the plane, where he finds pilot Jimmie Shields and his passengers, hunter Buck Rand and animal trainer Manchester Mountford. Learning that Buck has come from America to capture lions for zoos, Tarzan angrily tells them to leave the next day. Back at his tree-top home, Tarzan tells Jane everything, saying that only the pilot seems to understand him. Tarzan and Jane are worried because Boy is fascinated with the plane, and early the next morning, Boy secretly goes to see it with family chimpanzee Cheetah and his pet baby elephants. Buck and Manchester are impressed with Boy's ability to have the animals perform tricks and Jimmie soon realizes that Buck wants to take Boy back to America with them. When Buck invites Boy into the plane, Jimmie angrily tells Boy to leave. A few minutes later, though, after Boy bravely saves Manchester from an attacking lion, Buck shoots the lion as it is about to kill Boy. Just then, hostile natives attack. Hearing the battle from a distance, Tarzan and Jane swing toward the plane, but a native shoots an arrow through their vine and they fall to the ground. When the natives then set fires around the unconscious pair, Buck and Manchester, thinking that Tarzan and Jane are dead, quickly grab Boy and they all escape in the plane. Unknown to them, Cheetah saves Tarzan and Jane by bringing them a rope and reviving them before they are burned. Cheetah then communicates with Tarzan to let him know that Boy has been taken in the plane. Jane realizes that they must go to civilization to find Boy, and in a nearby town, she and Tarzan learn that the plane's destination was New York and trade in gold nuggets for money and clothes suitable for civilization. Although Tarzan is uncomfortable, he agrees to accompany Jane and Cheetah to New York. Once there, they learn that Jimmie is living at a posh hotel. After they check into the hotel themselves, Jane learns from a bellboy that Jimmie frequently goes to the club Moonbeam to hear his girl friend, Connie Beach, sing. That night, Connie tells them that Jimmie could not prevent Boy from being taken to a circus run by Buck and his unscrupulous partner, Colonel Ralph Sargent. Meanwhile, at the circus, Manchester has befriended Boy, who tells his troubles to his new elephant friends. Because their own circus is not doing well, Sargeant and Buck are eager to sell Boy's services for $100,000 to a South American circus. When Tarzan, Jane and Cheetah show up at the circus looking for Boy, Buck tries to sneak him away, but Tarzan lets out a jungle yell and Boy recognizes it. He is whisked away by Buck as Tarzan and Sargent scuffle. When the police arrive with Jimmie and Connie, Jimmie reveals that Sargent has posted an immigration bond for Boy and Jane tells Tarzan that they must now trust the law. At a guardianship hearing, Tarzan and Jane's lawyer argues their case, but when Sargent's lawyer forces Jane to admit that Boy's real parents died in a jungle plane crash, Tarzan lunges at him. During a recess, Jane encourages Tarzan to use his own law to get Boy back and he flees across the city's skyscrapers. He then hails a taxi to drive him to the circus, but when the police stop the taxi on the Brooklyn Bridge, Tarzan climbs to the top and dives into the water. At the circus, Manchester helps Boy escape from Buck and Sargent and the child runs to the high wires. Tarzan soon arrives and swings to Boy's rescue, but Sargent's men capture him and place him in a cage. With the aid of the elephants, Tarzan breaks free and finally stops Buck and Sargent from escaping with Boy. Back in the courtroom, Tarzan is sentenced to thirty days in jail, but the sympathetic judge suspends his sentence and promises to go fishing in Africa soon. Tarzan now realizes that law is good and the family happily returns to their jungle home.