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Arriving in Salem, Massachusetts in 1800, trapper Jason Starbuck immediately impresses the local boys with his frontier dress and expert marksmanship. Jason sells his furs to storekeeper Elias Derby, revealing that he wants to give up the trapper's lonely life. Upon noting Jason's fine horse, Elias challenges him to a race, and Jason agrees, betting his horse against passage on a boat to China. Watching the transaction is sophisticated Roxana Reil, who instructs her slave, Eliza, to tell Jason to follow them out of town. Although surprised at her interest, Jason meets Roxana by a lake, where she points out a race course that will give his rough-and-tumble horse an advantage over Elias's horse. At the race the next morning, Derby introduces Roxana as the fiancée of wealthy Dick Bailey, the champion horseman who will ride Elias' horse. Jason at first wonders if Roxana has betrayed him, but as the course grows rougher, he begins to pull in front of Bailey. When Bailey once again passes him near the finish line, Jason lets out an Indian war whoop, which spooks Elias' horse, and Jason wins, after which Bailey denounces him as a savage. The next day, Jason is about to accept Elias' offer to book him on the next ship out of town when he spots Roxana and, challenged by Elias' warning not to invoke Bailey's jealousy, asks her to meet him again. At the lake, Roxana admits that she wanted to teach her arrogant fiancé a lesson, and Jason, realizing she does not love Bailey, kisses her. She returns his kiss, but then pulls away. Hours later, Jason overhears Bailey planning a sudden wedding and rushes to Roxana's, where she insists that she cannot jeopardize her father's financial future by refusing to marry Bailey. The next day, however, Mr. Reil, who watched them kiss, forbids Roxana to marry a man she does not love, but when she looks for Jason, she learns that he has already returned to the wilderness. Despondent, she prepares to sail to Marseilles, where her father has found a job. Days later, a friend finds Jason and informs him of the broken engagement, and although Jason rushes back to town, he learns that Roxana has already sailed, and left him a note begging him to follow. Jason boards the next ship to Marseille, but by the time he reaches the country, he learns that Barbary pirates have attacked Roxana's ship, killing her father and enslaving her in Morocco. Heedless of the risk, Jason travels to Morocco, where he is immediately identified as an American. He escapes to the office of American consulate Richard O'Brien, who agrees to present him to the sultan, as long as he can amuse the leader. At the sultan's, Jason wins over the court by demonstrating his amazing shooting skills, and is hired to teach the infantry. Jason is also given a female slave, Lillith, who adores him but annoys him with her constant prattle. From her he learns of slave seller Kedi, and upon visiting him discovers that Roxana has been sold to Omar Id-Din, the head of the Janissaries, pirates whose military prowess threatens the sultan's. Meanwhile, Omar grows tired of Roxana's refusals and relegates her to the post of his groom. The next day, Jason convinces the sultan to hold a hunting competition between his men and the Janissaries. Roxana accompanies Omar to the competition, where Jason insults Omar and challenges him to a duel, the winner of which will gain the rifle and slave of the other. Jason quickly wins the duel, shooting Omar in the arm, and Roxana is brought to him. Lillith notes their happiness with jealousy, and as soon as Jason leaves to find passage on an American ship in the harbor, she fights with Roxana and informs Omar of the Americans' scheme. When Jason returns, he sees Roxana being abducted by guards, and Lillith, realizing she has made a mistake, agrees to sneak into her cell and exchange clothes with her. Roxana escapes, but as the couple tries to race to the ship, Jason is captured and imprisoned. Roxana refuses to leave the city until she rescues him, and enlists Hassan Serdar, the head of the sultan's infantry, and the American sailors to help. Meanwhile, Jason convinces the group of prisoners to whom he is shackled to attempt an escape, and they break free. Together, Jason, the prisoners and the rescue team beat the guards. At the last moment, Omar and his troops storm the palace, but Jason throws Omar off the roof and everyone escapes over the wall. Hassan and Lillith are brought before the sultan, who finally agrees that killing Omar was more important than Hassan's treason, but still punishes him by giving him the talkative Lillith as a slave. At the same time, Jason and Roxana board the ship, where she promises to obey his every command.