powered by AFI
In Pedrone, a village along the Amazon River, trading post proprietor Rio Galdes puts drunken American Jerry Russell to bed in his hut, then sails off on his boat to trade with the local headhunting Indians. After discovering that some of Rio's boxes of goods are actually filled with rocks, the Indians start to attack Rio, but he saves himself by offering them his watch and ring. Later, Rio is cornered on his boat by Jerry, who begs him to finance an expedition to the Valley of the Winds, where a treasure of Indian gold is reportedly buried. Rio dismisses Jerry's proposal as foolish and chastises him for drinking his life away and ignoring his fiancée, who sends him weekly letters from California. In another village, Rio then confronts his old friend Pedro Martines, the merchant who sold him the rock-filled boxes, and the two men fight. Their brawl is interrupted by the appearance of Alice Parker, Jerry's fiancée, who has come unexpectedly to see Jerry. Alice pays Rio to transport her to Pedrone, a two-day trip, and along the way, talks excitedly about the plantation she believes Jerry has bought. Rio listens as she describes growing up with Jerry in a small California town, where her family owned the big house on the hill, and how she worried that she might lose Jerry if she waited any longer to marry him. Not wanting to hurt Alice, Rio is evasive when she asks about Jerry, and the next day, after arriving in Pedrone, takes her to Jerry's empty hut. Although Rio learns that Jerry went off with two friends in search of the treasure, he says nothing to Alice about his whereabouts. That night, Alice dines in Rio's trading post bar and meets the lecherous Tony, an American prospector. Later, in Jerry's hut, Alice notices a pair of women's sandals, and the next morning, runs into Maroa, Jerry's native girl friend, who is extremely jealous of her. Tony then offers to show her Jerry's "plantation," which he claims can be seen from his jungle gold mine. As soon as they arrive at the mine, however, Tony sends his partner Vinny back to Pedrone, telling Alice that he has gone for some explosives. Hours later, Vinny still has not returned, and Alice, worried that she has missed Jerry, demands that Tony take her back. Instead Tony grabs Alice and tries to kiss her, and the two are struggling when Rio appears, having deduced Tony's trick. Rio escorts Alice safely back to Pedrone and later that night, after a pelting rainstorm erupts, rescues her from Jerry's leaky hut. In the trading post bar, Alice reveals to Rio her suspicions about Maroa and her fears that Jerry has changed in the Amazon. Again, Rio says nothing and, giving in to his growing attraction, kisses her. Confused, she pulls away and leaves. Moments later, Tony walks into the bar and, having witnessed the kiss, starts to brawl with Rio. The local priest then bursts in to tell Rio that Jerry's medallion was found in the jungle and beseeches him to find out what happened. The next day, as Rio prepares to set off with Sylvester, his faithful employee, and a group of Indians, he is joined by Alice, Tony and Vinny, who insist on accompanying him. During the treacherous journey, many of the Indians become frightened and abandon the expedition, and some drown when a makeshift bridge collapses under them. After Rio saves her from the rough river current, Alice finds the body of one of Jerry's friends, with an Indian arrow in his back. Rio finally resolves to tell Alice the truth about Jerry, but she has already deduced it and admits to Rio that despite her disappointments, she still feels a need to find Jerry. The next morning, the group continues to the arid Valley of the Winds and fights the fierce winds in search of the treasure. They soon come upon some ancient Indian ruins, where Rio uncovers a trove of gold and the slain bodies of Jerry and his other friend. Although Rio begs Tony and Vinny not to take the gold, arguing that the Indians will not attack them as long as they leave it alone, Tony and Vinny, overcome with greed, refuse. Soon Indian warriors start attacking them with spears and arrows. Rio and Tony are able to hold them off with gunfire, but Rio is shot in the arm while retreating into the jungle. During the night, Vinny and Tony sneak back to the ruins, and the following morning, as they head home, Rio, Sylvester and Alice come across their bodies, strung up in the trees. When Alice becomes hysterical with fear, Rio sends Sylvester for help. Rio calms Alice and together they build a rock enclosure as protection against the Indians. As they wait for help, Rio tells Alice about his long-lost love, the daughter of his rich boss, who died suddenly while he was away, foolishly trying to make enough money to prove himself worthy. Rio confesses to Alice that although he thought he would never fall in love again, he has, and the two kiss. The next day, the Indians launch another attack, and Rio and Alice defend themselves with a gun and rifle. In the midst of the battle, Sylvester returns with some armed men, and the Indians are quickly defeated. Later, Rio and Alice prepare to leave Pedrone together and wish Sylvester good luck with the trading post.