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Kikuyu tribal members work on Henry McKenzie's farm in 1940s Kenya. Two young men, Kenyan native Kimani and Henry's son Peter, have grown up together, almost like brothers.
Prejudices surface when Peter's brother-in-law Jeff Newton slaps the face of Kimani after his request to use a rifle. Kimani leaves the farm, but is carried back by Peter after having caught his foot in a trap.
Mau Mau tribesmen plot an insurrection as Kenya's tensions rise. Kimani sides with them and is asked to steal a supply of rifles as a test. He parts ways for many years with Peter, who becomes a safari leader to help raise money for the farm. His fiancee Holly Keith arrives and they intend to marry.
Kimani impregnates the daughter of a Mau Mau tribal elder. A raid on the farm results in the murders of Newton and his children. British forces retaliate by bombing a Mau Mau encampment, taking tribesmen prisoner and torturing them.
Peter wants to continue his life in Africa, but troubles worsen when Holly must fight off Mau Mau warriors. Henry hastily gets her and Newton's wife to safety in Nairobi. Peter goes looking for Kimani, who has been identified as the leader of the Mau Mau raiding party that killed his brother-in-law and Newton's children. They fight to the death, Kimani ultimately falling into a pit of bamboo spikes.