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In Africa, guide Johnny Weissmuller welcomes Nora Blakely, daughter and assistant of world-renowned professor Carl Blakely. The Blakleys are in search of their missing colleague, Ralph Dixon, who came to Africa four years earlier on a research trip and disappeared. Blakely explains that he and Nora study the traditions of the fire-worshipping natives, who believe that the volcano under which they live is sacred and taboo to whites. Blakely confides that Dixon was an expert on the ancient rites of fire worshippers and suspects his obsession might have played a part in his disappearance. Blakely fears that Dixon may have fallen victim to a reputed fire demon, who lives in the mountain and accepts human sacrifices to keep the volcano from erupting. The following day as Johnny and the Blakelys depart for the volcano, there is a small eruption at the mountain and the fire demon makes an appearance. Afterward, natives find a bejeweled scimitar on the mountain, which, through trade and shyster Nels Comstock, reaches the desk of Joseph Leopold, the crooked district manager of a metal company. Comstock wants money for his find, but Leopold speculates there might be more riches where the knife originated and dismisses Comstock's warnings about the superstitious natives. Shortly thereafter, Leopold, Comstock and some hired men run into Johnny and the Blakelys and identify themselves as hunters. Nora is excited about the scimitar, which she believes is Middle-Eastern in origin and may prove a theory she has that King Solomon explored northern Africa. Leopold and Comstock depart and later force the local natives to reveal where the knife was found, then make several of them help dig for more artifacts, despite a series of small volcanic eruptions. In response to the volcanic flare-ups, young native woman Sarab'na is groomed for sacrifice to the fire demon. Sarab'na's fiancé Teinusi asks Johnny to help him prevent her death, and when the ceremony reaches its peak with the arrival of the fire demon in a cloud of smoke, Johnny and Teinusi snatch Sarab'na and flee into the jungle. As they slip by the native village, Teinusi overhears the report that several white men are digging on the mountain and relays this to Johnny. Unknowingly, the trio is followed by a native scouting party, but when Johnny frees a captured sacrificial leopard, the animal scares the party away. Johnny sends Teinusi and Sarab'na to join the Blakelys as he goes in search of the white men. Meanwhile, the native chieftain orders several men to go after Leopold's group as well. Leopold, Comstock and their men discover a large chest holding a collection of jeweled artifacts. Johnny, arriving just then, is knocked unconscious by Comstock. When the natives show up, they are held off by a series of grenades and gunshots from Leopold and his men. Johnny then revives, but is attacked by the natives and knocked out again. Realizing they are surrounded, Leopold, Comstock and the men decide to hide in a cave. When Johnny revives, the Blakelys arrive and report that they never saw Teinusi or Sarab'na. Johnny's pet chimpanzee Kimba finds Teinusi injured in the jungle, and Teinusi tells Johnny that Sarab'na was taken by the fire worshippers to the fire demon's cave. After Nora volunteers to remain with Teinusi to tend to his wounds, Johnny and Blakely head off to the fire demon's cave. The men appear just as two natives and Sarab'na arrive at the cave's entrance. Once Sarab'na joins the fire demon, Johnny and Blakely hurry into the cave and find the bearded fire demon with several young native girls. Blakely hesitantly recognizes the fire demon as Dixon, who laments the theft of King Solomon's sacred treasures. Meanwhile, in the cave at the bottom of the mountain, Leopold and Comstock conclude that their only way off the mountain is by using the fire demon to get them through the natives. Back in the upper cave, Dixon announces that the volcano erupts fully every nine years and by posing as the demon he has been able to save the girls offered as sacrifice. When Johnny realizes that the village will be destroyed in the eruption, Blakely pleads with Dixon to order the natives away. The native girls also implore him to help, and Dixon agrees just as the volcano begins to blow. The group run into Leopold and Comstock at the cave entrance, but Dixon distracts them with a flash of explosives. Several natives, having followed the white men up the mountain, now attack them, killing Leopold and throwing Comstock off the mountain and keeping their ransacked treasure. Nora and Teinusi have been captured by natives, but with Dixon's help, Johnny frees them. Dixon then orders the villagers to depart, and believing him to be the fire demon, they comply. After the volcano erupts, Dixon agrees to return with the Blakelys, delighted to have the treasure artifacts to present to the museum.