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In a British port in East Africa, American fugitive Red Bowers escapes an extradition order by bribing his way onto Captain Wong Bo's tramp steamer called the Sea Dragon . Also on board is former circus trainer Muller and his entourage of wild animals. Bowers buys a cabin, already reserved by Ann Martin, which leaves her in the lurch. An American salesman named Larry saves Ann from being hurt when a lion cage is hoisted onto the ship. Realizing Ann now has no cabin, Bowers gives her his, but that night tries to move in, forcing Ann on deck, where she is joined by Larry. Wong Bo then learns from a radio announcement that Bowers is a fugitive and offers him sanction on his boat for $50,000, but Bowers responds by pulling a gun and demanding to be put ashore. A typhoon then hits, smashing the boat against a reef. Bowers saves Ann and Larry, and the survivors, which include Muller's animals, take refuge on a deserted island in the Indian Ocean. Bowers appoints himself leader and maintains control with his gun. Although Larry and Wong Bo start a revolt, Bowers silences them. One by one, the passengers are killed by Muller's lions and tigers, who have inhabited the island's jungle. Larry, meanwhile, releases a talking bird he had been transporting to a friend with a note tied to its neck, hoping it will act like a homing pigeon. Bowers then sends Wong Bo to his death over a cliff, and, injured in the struggle, befriends the last survivors, Ann and Larry, in order to save himself from the lions. The bird makes it to civilization, and a pilot, who sets out to locate the castaways, sights them as the lions are about to attack. Bowers sets the dry jungle ablaze to distract the lions from Larry and Ann, but is himself eaten.