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A thousand years ago on a tropical island, the king of the northern village of Wongo visits the jungle temple to consult with the island priestess about the marriages of eligible Wongon maidens. Later in the village, as the Wongons prepare for the wedding ritual, they are interrupted by the arrival of a youth, Engor, from the southern village of Goona, bearing a white feather of peace. Engor explains that he is an emissary from his father, the Goonan king. The king of Wongo agrees to hear the Goonan message, but is disturbed when the maiden Omoo delivers food to Engor and is captivated by his unusual good looks. After Omoo departs, Engor tells the king and his council that Goona has been attacked by a tribe of mysterious ape men who arrive by canoe at night, commit murder and then flee. When the king appears doubtful, Engor continues that his father requests that the men of Wongo join with the Goonans to repel the ape men. The king declares that he will give Engor an answer the next day after the council has considered the Goonan request. Meanwhile, spurred by Omoo's description of Engor, the other maidens come to look at him and are impressed by his sleek, beardless appearance, which differs sharply from that of the heavy, hairy Wongon men. At the council meeting, the Wongon men express disgust at Engor's appearance and disbelieve the existence of the ape men, suspecting that the story is a Goonan plot to steal their women. Hoping to force their maidens to forget about Engor and his disquieting beauty, the king and his council agree to kill Engor the following day just before the women visit the temple. Later that evening when the king begins the preliminary marriage rites, Omoo asks if she may wed Engor. The king is furious at Omoo's request and declares that she has betrayed her people and must marry the village's best hunter, Gahbo, as arranged. That night, Omoo eavesdrops when Gahbo's father brings several gifts to the king to seal the marriage. Upon hearing Gahbo's father request that Gahbo be given the privilege of killing Engor the next day, Omoo resolves to save the Goonan. Stealing to the men's side of the village, Omoo finds Engor walking near his tent and the couple slip into the jungle. Engor confides to Omoo that the women of Wongo are unexpectedly beautiful and that the Goonan women look similar to the Wongon men. Omoo admits that she has always dreamed of a man like Engor and the couple embrace and kiss. The next day at the start of a purifying ceremony, Engor demands an answer to the Goonan request. As the king declares that Wongo will not help Goona, Omoo tells the other women about the plot to murder Engor. When Gahbo prepares to attack Engor, the women intervene, allowing Engor to escape in his canoe. Upon returning to Goona, Engor relates his adventure to his father and the men of Goona, who are amazed that Engor was saved by women. Several days later in Wongo, the priestess summons the maidens to the temple to declare that the dragon god is angered that no sacrifice has been made to him for the postponed wedding ceremony. When Omoo protests that the woman have offered a nightly sacrifice, which has gone unaccepted, the priestess leads the women in a wild dance to cleanse their spirits. Afterward, the priestess declares that the maidens are forbidden to return to Wongo until the dragon god is appeased. Several days into their exile, the women are bathing in the river when Omoo saves them from an attack by a crocodile. One maiden, Ahtee, refuses to allow the other girls to help Omoo, insisting that if the dragon god takes one girl, they may then return to Wongo. After Omoo kills the crocodile, Ahtee spurns her for insulting the dragon god. At nightfall, another maiden, Mona, takes her turn as sacrificial offering but is attacked by two ape men. Omoo and the other women rescue Mona and in the tumult one of the ape men is killed by a crocodile. Omoo then declares that the dragon god has been appeased by the death of the ape man and that the women must warn the Wongon men that Engor spoke the truth about the ape men. Upon returning to Wongo, the women find their village empty except for Gahbo's dying father. Uncertain what to do, the women remain in the village, fearfully guarding against another assault. Several days later, Ahtee rejects Omoo's leadership, declaring that they should welcome the ape men rather than remain alone. Omoo agrees, but decides that they should go to Goona for protection. Just after the women depart Wongo, the men return, having gone to search for them in the jungle temple. Convinced that the women have been killed by the ape men, the Wongon men agree to travel to Goona to help the inhabitants defeat the attackers. Meanwhile in Goona, just after the manhood and marriage ceremony begins, the women of Wongo arrive. The Goonan women are angered by the Wongon women's beauty, but retreat in a panic when threatened by the Wongon spears. Omoo and the women find Engor and the Goonan men bathing, but are dismayed when Engor declares that the men must fulfill their tradition by marrying the Goonan women after a full moon. Angered, the women of Wongo take the Goonan men captive and lead them to the jungle temple for a wedding blessing. Shortly thereafter, the Wongon men arrive with the Goonan women whom they have wedded, believing their own women dead. The priestess offers a blessing on all.