Cast & Crew
In 1895, Danny Halloran has left his native Ireland to join his old friend Harry Boyle in a remote area of Uganda, Africa, where they plan to grow tobacco. After completing the final part of the journey in a canoe handled by David, a native returning to his tribe, Danny arrives at Harry's house to find it deserted. Later, Danny is taken to a nearby village where he finds Harry's wife Maria ill. She explains to him that, three weeks earlier, Harry was killed by a crocodile and as there was no food in the house, the Africans took her in. Danny carries Maria back to the house, where she recovers and tells him that Harry, a former sailor with no skills as a farmer, never planted the tobacco seeds. Neither Danny nor Maria has enough money to return to Europe, but Maria hopes that when Father Verity, a missionary, next visits the area he will be able to help them. When Danny offers to take her with him to Ireland, Maria explains that she and Harry were not legally married, and when she met him in Marseilles, they worked out an "agreement" whereby Harry promised her a share of the farm if she went with him. Now, she says, she will probably return to her former life in Marseilles. At dawn, several natives, led by David, come to the house and ask Danny if he will plant tobacco, as they are prepared to work in return for food. As Danny has a rifle with which he can shoot game, he agrees and they begin to plow the soil with rudimentary tools. While the tobacco seeds are being planted, David meets Makasa, a young woman he admires, but cannot afford her father's marriage price of eighteen goats. When Father Verity arrives he tells Danny that he can arrange Maria's passage home, but hopes that Danny will stay and marry "the widow." Danny then offers Maria the same deal Harry did and asks her to stay for four or five years and marry him. Although Maria is surprised by the marriage part, she agrees and, after Father Verity conducts the ceremony, kisses Danny for the first time. Time passes and the tobacco plants begin to grow. Danny receives a visit from the European owner of a nearby trading post and his partner Albert, who tries to persuade him to join them in a venture hunting crocodiles as there is a big demand for their skins in Europe for the manufacture of shoes and handbags. Danny and Maria decline the offer, preferring to concentrate on their tobacco crop. When Danny learns that Maria is going to have a baby, she tells him that she is sure it is Harry's, not his. The tobacco leaves are ready to pick but when a water buffalo is caught, all the natives run off to take part in a feast, leaving the plants unpicked in the broiling sun. While Danny and Father Verity attempt to persuade the natives to return, Maria, knowing that the plants will rot, begins to pick the plants but faints. Having lost the crop and several months' work, Danny is forced to take up crocodile hunting to earn money to buy more tobacco seeds. Meanwhile, when she is unable to reach Father Verity, who is also the local midwife, Maria loses her baby. Later, David tells Danny that he has discovered that crocodiles become transfixed by the light from a lantern thus making them easy targets. With Maria's help, Danny and David are soon successful hunters and preserve their victims' skin with salt. When word reaches the trader that Danny and Maria have accumulated forty skins, he and Albert, who has a peg leg as a result of an encounter with a crocodile, head up the river to make a deal. However, things are not going well between Danny and Maria, and one night he gets drunk and attacks her. With the money they anticipate earning, Danny plans to go back to Ireland, but Maria, who is completely disenchanted, intends to return to Marseilles. Meanwhile, because David is now recognized as a great hunter, Makasa's father tells him that it will be a great honor to have him as a son-in-law. While Danny and Maria are away attending David's wedding, the two traders arrive at the house, discover the skins and steal them by hiring some natives to transport them across land and out of the territory. At the wedding, Danny apologizes to Maria and asks her to go with him to Ireland, but on returning to the house, they discover the skins are gone. When David learns that the traders hired men from his own village to move the skins, he sets off after them and finds them impeded by a fast-flowing river. At night, David slips into the traders' camp and talks to his kinfolk and as a result, the next morning, Albert's artificial leg is missing and the natives refuse to move. When David tells the traders that his men will no longer help thieves and that he intends to return the skins to Danny, Albert shoots David. The natives then rush the traders and throw them from a cliff into a roiling gorge. Later, the natives return the skins to Danny, and Father Verity learns the sad news that David was one of three natives killed by the traders. After Maria visits her baby's grave and is about to depart with Danny, Danny decides that he cannot leave as he is so indebted to his native friends. Father Verity agrees to sell the skins and give Maria her share while Danny will use his to buy more tobacco seeds and teach the natives how to grow crops. Upon hearing this, Maria decides to remain with Danny and they prepare to begin again.
H. L. Bird
The opening title card reads: "Foray Films by Arrangement with Milton Holmes presents." The opening and closing cast credits differ slightly in order. Although Milton Holmes was given sole credit for screenplay when the film was initially released, the picture was co-written by blacklisted writer Harold Buchman, whose credit was officially restored by the WGA. A May 1957 Hollywood Reporter news item notes that Vincent Sherman was originally to produce and direct the film. According to a June 1957 Los Angeles Times news item, Joan Collins was initially to play "Maria." A July 1957 news item in Daily Film Renter adds that location shooting was done in Uganda.