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The film opens in Virginia in 1865, shortly after General Lee's surrender at Battle of Appomattox Court House. A war correspondent Jim Steed exchanges comments with Count Von Bohlen, an arrogant Prussian army officer serving as a military attaché during the American Civil War. A year later Steed is in Vienna shortly before the outbreak of the Austro-Prussian War of 1866. There he encounters a famous dancer, Anna Marie, who he persuades to spy for him on Von Bohlen, now a member of the Prussian General staff, who has become infatuated with her. However the secret plans which they manage to pass on to the Austrians are unable to prevent the decisive Prussian victory.
Escaping Vienna just ahead of the conquering Prussian army, they journey to the United States where they plan to organize a successful career for her in show-business. Stopping in a small western town to stage a show, they choose the exotic Salome for her debut, but it is held up at gunpoint by local desparados,. After Salome is able to recover their money from the bandits, the town elders decide by popular acclaim to rename the settlement "Salome Where She Danced". The bandit leader, Cleve Blunt, an ex-Confederate soldier develops a romantic interest in Anna Marie and accompanies her on the journey westward.
After moving on to San Francisco, they persuade a wealthy Russian Colonel to back her career. Just as she is set to make a success, the arrival of Count Von Bohlen seeking revenge leads to a final confrontation.