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Tom Ransome, a devil-may-care philanderer, has spent the last several years in India, embellishing his reputation and watching the rains come and go. Tom's reputation fascinates Fern Simon, the innocent young daughter of American missionaries, but Tom thinks of Fern as a young girl. During a party held at the Maharajah's palace, Tom is reunited with an old flame who is now Lady Edwina Esketh, having married the wealthy but borish Lord Esketh. Tom sees his own shallowness reflected in Edwina, and becomes alarmed when she decides to make a conquest of his friend, Major Rama Safti. However, the major's commitment to his work as a doctor makes him immune to Edwina's charms. Meanwhile, as the coming of the rains abates the heat, Tom begins to fall in love with Fern. Then, one night, disaster strikes the state of Ranchipur when an earthquake destroys the dams and releases flood waters that smash everything in their path. Lord Esketh perishes in the disaster, as does the Maharajah. The courageous Maharani then presses Tom into service as her aide-de-camp, and he asks Fern to join him. As a plague sweeps the city, the major fights valiantly to contain it, and Edwina volunteers to help in the hospital. Her selflessness causes the major to fall in love with her, but when she becomes a victim of the plague, he is unable to save her. The major finally vanquishes the plague, and as Tom and Fern are married, he ascends to the position of Maharajah of the rebuilt state, but faces a lonely future before him.