Cast & Crew
Mary Beth Hughes
Lion tamers Blaney Lewis and Smiley perform in the Corey and Murray Circus lion act, which also features Smiley's girl friend, Lola Tremaine. Lola becomes violently jealous of Blaney's girl friend, Kit Warren, a horsewoman who wants to get into the lion act, especially after Smiley encourages her. When the act's star cat, Sultan, grows increasingly irritable, Blaney urges circus owner Dan Corey to pull Lola's bit, but she demands to perform. One night, Smiley secretly agitates Sultan, and during Lola's act, slips a pin in the gate to the lion cage so that she is unable to escape. After Lola is mauled to death, Smiley pulls the pin out, and the coroner rules her death accidental. Smiley, hoping to gain Kit's affection, immediately suggests that she take over Lola's position. Blaney and Kit break up because Kit's drive for success is stronger than her desire to settle down and become Blaney's wife. This fits in perfectly with Smiley's plans, and he actively pursues Kit's affection, while she undergoes intensive training with Blaney. By the time their winter residency is concluded, Kit is fully trained and performs during their next tour. Smiley continues secretly to torture Sultan, often dressing in Blaney's clothing so the animal will be hostile to his trainer. Smiley is seen one night by the circus guard, who then reports to Dan and Blaney. Having become friends again with Kit, Blaney asks her to get his gun, which fires only blanks, from his trailer. There, Kit finds Smiley, who has tampered with Blaney's gun, but hides it before she discovers it. During that night's performance, Smiley agitates Sultan during the act, and the big cat turns on Blaney. Blaney fights off the animal, who then attacks Smiley, and when Blaney's gun does not fire, Smiley is injured. While Smiley convalesces, Blaney confesses to Kit his suspicion that Smiley is trying to kill him. Kit remembers the trailer incident, and realizes that Smiley is indeed dangerous. Dan insists they continue with the act, and Blaney and Kit reunite. When Smiley returns to the act, he attempts to murder Kit by using the pin in the gate trap, but Dan catches him practicing with the pin beforehand and makes a citizen's arrest. Smiley kills Dan and escapes in a car. Blaney chases him in his own car, and Smiley's car eventually goes over a cliff and Smiley's body is never found. Blaney and Kit marry and continue to perform the lion act as partners. After a year, Smiley returns to the circus and confronts Blaney, admitting that he jumped from the car before it crashed. Blaney fends off Smiley, who attempts to kill him, and during their violent fight, Smiley throws a lighted oil lamp, igniting the circus tent. Kit, meanwhile, performs the lion act without Blaney, but sets the animals free when the big tent catches on fire. Sultan finds Smiley and mauls him to death, after which a guard shoots Sultan. Later, the circus makes plans to buy new tents and reopen, while Blaney learns he is soon to be a father.