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In the depths of the Amazon jungle, as Christine Ridgeway searches for a black panther, one of her hunting party's jeeps breaks down and she is forced to radio the Manaos Airport to request a replacement carburetor. When the plane carrying her carburetor reaches the jungle, it crashes. None of the passengers, including pilot Jim Warburton and his friend, physician Karen Adams, are hurt, and the group decides to wait at the plane until morning. They are awakened, however, by the war drums of the head-hunting natives and it is only the sudden appearance of Christine and her guide, Paulo, which saves them from the head-hunters. As Christine leads the plane's passengers through the jungle, Jim grows fascinated by her and asks Paulo to explain why she has come to the jungle. By the next morning, Christine has mysteriously disappeared from the camp, but Paulo, acting on instructions from Christine, guides the plane's passengers to their hotel in Rio. In Rio, Karen and Jim are attending a horse race when they notice Christine in the audience. Jim asks her to dinner that evening, and afterward they decide to go dancing. Jim's romantic notions are dispelled, however, after a middle-aged man leaves Christine a note saying, "Be happy, dearest," and she immediately becomes agitated and wants to leave. The next morning, Christine meets Jim and Karen at a nearby restaurant, but as soon as she sees the middle-aged man again, she collapses at the table. While Karen looks after Christine, Jim follows the man, who identifies himself as Don Sebastian Ortega, an old friend of Christine's parents. Ortega explains that many years before, he guided Christine's newlywed parents, Anthony Ridgeway and his bride, through the Amazon, and remarks upon how much Christine looks like her mother. Ortega tells Jim that, on their trip through the jungle, Anthony was attacked by a black panther, and his young bride was forced to stab the animal to death. Intrigued, Jim returns to America and visits Anthony, now a fifty-year-old man, in Pasadena, California. Anthony tells him that Christine is not his daughter but his wife, whose aging process was halted due to the shock of killing the panther. He further reveals he and Christine have a daughter, Judy, and that on Judy's twentieth birthday party, her fiancé Johnny admitted to being in love with the ever-youthful Christine, a revelation that caused Judy to drive her car off a cliff to her death. After their daughter's death, Anthony and Christine grew apart and decided to separate. Jim discovers that Christine is now at a sanitarium in Santa Barbara and goes there to find Karen caring for her. Karen explains that the shock of seeing Ortega after all these years caused her to begin aging again. Now looking her age, Christine visits her daughter's grave, where she meets Anthony, and the two are reunited.