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At the Tangier airport, the imminent arrival of a private plane is eagerly awaited by several people: Susan Lane, pilot Gil L. Walker, Frenchwoman Nicki and her American companion Danzar, and the Spanish speaking Goro and his cohort Dullah. In the plane, meanwhile, American pilot Hank Brady sets the controls on automatic and confronts at gunpoint his only passenger, an old man with a briefcase. As onlookers watch in horror, the plane then crash-lands near the airport. That night, after a team of international police, led by Lt. Luzon, has searched the wreckage and found no bodies, Gil sneaks on board the plane and is soon joined by Susan. The Americans are surprised by Luzon, who takes them to see his superior, Col. C. M. Wier. Wier, an American who heads Tangier's multi-national police force, questions Susan and Gil, a Tangier resident, about their connection to Hank, Danzar and Goro, a known black market profiteer. Gil, a wartime friend of Hank, refuses to say why Hank was flying the wrecked plane, while Susan admits only that she is engaged to Hank. Wier releases both Americans, but orders Luzon to follow them. Outside the station, Susan and Gil are picked up by Nicki, Gil's lover, who then drives into a traffic jam that has been engineered by Danzar. When Danzar jumps in the car, Gil accuses Nicki of selling him out. Having lost Luzon's tail, Danzar drives the three to a warehouse, where Goro and Dullac await them. Danzar explains to Gil that the man whom Hank was transporting, Franz Kovac, was carrying a three million dollar letter of credit from Prague, with which Danzar was going to buy illegal "materials" from Goro. As Danzar and Goro question Susan about Hank, Luzon and the police drive up, having deduced their location. The police surround the warehouse, and in the commotion, Dullac shoots Luzon, then bolts just before police officer Tirera runs up. Tirera sees Gil running away and, assuming he killed Luzon, gives chase. With Susan and Nicki in tow, Gil eludes the police, but overhears Tirera declaring that Gil will not get out of Tangier undetected. Gil leads the women to Hank's house and immediately begins packing, claiming not to care about Hank's fate. Nicki scorns Gil's self-centeredness, and Susan admits that she knows about Gil's wartime experiences through letters written by Hank, and expected more loyalty from him. Gil continues to pack until Susan reveals that Hank had instructed her to meet him at an abandoned airfield near the desert town of Tazlai. Gil and the women then drive off in Hank's car and, at a roadblock inside Tangier, Gil and Nicki get out, while Susan faces the police. When Wier spots Susan, he realizes Gil must be hiding nearby and sends some men to search. With help from a mercenary stranger, Gil and Nicki manage to slip through the dragnet and rejoin Susan on the highway just outside Tangier. Having watched Susan's movements, Danzar, Goro and Dullac follow her car. Wier, meanwhile, decides that Gil must be with Susan and orders that she be picked up at the first highway roadblock. Later, Gil, Susan and Nicki stop near a farm field, intending to rest until nightfall. While Gil camouflages the car, Susan and Nicki hunt for water. Despite Susan's protests to the contrary, Nicki angrily accuses her of being in love with Gil. Gil, who refuses to believe that Nicki's involvement with Danzar is strictly business, then confides in Susan that, although his family believes he is a war hero, he did not actually do the brave act with which he was credited. When Susan asks Gil if his refusal to go home stems from his shame about his war experiences, he does not respond. Later, after a nap, the three awaken to discover a police plane flying overhead. Danzar, Goro and his men are also in the vicinity and are alerted to Gil's whereabouts when Nicki accidentally sounds the car horn. Gil, Susan and Nicki run into a nearby barn, eluding their armed pursuers until they can race back to their car. Gil decides to take a side road to the airfield, but when they encounter an obstruction in the road, they are forced to flee on foot. Chased by Danzar, Goro and Dullac, the three head for the airfield, but Susan is caught by Danzar. Susan refuses to answer Danzar's questions about the money until he reveals the location of her young son, who became trapped behind the Iron Curtain after the war. Hiding nearby, Gil overhears Danzar admit that he used his knowledge about her son to manipulate her but has now grown tired of her. After Danzar coldly states that her son is dead, he abandons Nicki, who then reunites with an apologetic Gil. Still searching for Gil, Danzar and Goro watch the airfield, which is occupied by Goro's men. Danzar reveals to Goro that he is a Communist spy who has been posing as an American so that he can buy and use Goro's asbestos war materiel to frame the United States as a war-mongering country. Goro attempts to double-cross Danzar, but Dullac, who has been bribed by Danzar, shoots him. Danzar then bribes the rest of Goro's men, who scatter in search of Hank. At the airfield, meanwhile, Gil and the women rendezvous with Hank and Kovac, both of whom had parachuted out of the plane, and Susan and Hank confess that they are government agents sent to intercept Kovac, an unwitting dupe in the Communist scheme. Wounded, Hank suggests that Gil escort Kovac safely to the bank in Tangier. While acting as cover for Gil, Hank is shot, but before dying, tells Wier, who has just arrived with his men and is aware of Hank's mission, to trust Gil. With Danzar and Dullac close behind, Gil, Susan and Nicki then race Kovac to the bank. Grabbing Kovac's empty briefcase, Gil decides to act as a decoy, but to protect Gil, Nicki yells to Danzar that Kovac still has the money. In the ensuing chaos, Nicki is fatally wounded, but the police intercept Danzar. Later, Wier informs Gil that he has been recommended for a medal, and Gil boards a plane for home, with Susan at his side.