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|John Wayne||Joe January|
|Rossano Brazzi||Paul Bonnard|
|Kurt Kasznar||Prefect Dukas|
|Ibrahim El Hadish||Galli Galli|
In Timbuktu, experienced guide Joe January (John Wayne) reluctantly joins a Saharan treasure hunting expedition led by Paul Bonnard (Rossano Brazzi), a man obsessed with confirming his dead father's claim to have found a lost city. Dita (Sophia Loren), a woman of dubious reputation, becomes infatuated with Paul and his willingness to overlook her past. She invites herself along, despite Joe's protests. During the tough dry ordeal, Joe and Dita become attracted to each other, raising tensions.Just as they run out of water, they stumble upon the ancient city and a well. There, they find three human skeletons, a woman and two men. It becomes evident that Paul's father found his woman in the arms of his guide, killed them and then himself. There is also no treasure to be found. Paul's faith in his father is shattered and he becomes drunk.They find the treasure after Joe deciphers the clues left by Paul's father. They load it and prepare to leave in the morning. Paul makes an attempt to seduce Dita; she rejects him and he gets into a fight with Joe. Later, Paul sneaks away during the night taking all the animals, supplies, and treasure with him and leaving the other two to die.Joe and Dita chase after him on foot and eventually catch up. The two men fight and Paul is knocked out. While Joe and Dita dig for desperately needed water, Paul regains consciousness and thinks they are digging his grave. He buries the treasure and attacks Joe from behind with a knife. Dita is forced to shoot and kill Paul. When they spot a caravan, Joe and Dita are saved.