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Augustus Vinero (David Opatoshu) is a wealthy international criminal known for his habit of sending explosive wristwatches or necklaces to those not in his favor. When he hears of Ramel (Manuel Padilla Jr.), a small boy who may know the location of the fabled Valley of Gold in Mexico, he sends a death squad of plainclothes mercenaries which destroys the farmhouse (and its inhabitants) where Ramel is being sheltered.
Prior to his murder, the head of the farmhouse summoned his old friend Tarzan to track the kidnappers and rescue the boy. Aware of Tarzan's arrival, Vinero uses one of his assassins to impersonate a taxi driver to meet Tarzan at the airport. Tarzan is driven to an ambush in an empty stadium. After the driver is killed, Tarzan kills the sniper by crushing him with a giant Coca-Cola bottle used in the stadium for advertising.
When meeting the local authorities, Tarzan is offered troops, technology and weapons for his mission. Tarzan turns them down in favor of his own equipment-a chimpanzee scout, a lion named Major, his weapons of a hunting knife and longbow and his uniform of a loincloth.
Meanwhile Vinero and his private army are being led to the lost city by Ramel. Vinero's uniformed private army is well equipped with American World War II small arms, an M3 Stuart light tank, an M3 Half-track and a Bell 47 helicopter.
Along the way, Tarzan rescues Sophia Renault (Nancy Kovack), Vinero's mistress who attempted to help Ramel, only to be rewarded with an exploding necklace that Tarzan removes. Tarzan and Major kill Vinero's plainclothes mercenaries, and Tarzan, using a captured M1919 Browning machine gun (that he fires from the hip) and bag of Mk 2 grenades, brings down the helicopter attacking them. Tarzan truthfully informs Vinero of his exploits and losses to Vinero's forces on the deceased party's radio, and that Vinero is next in line for similar treatment unless he releases the boy.
Ignoring Tarzan's warning, Vinero's army, led by Ramel, have discovered the entrance to the Valley of Gold through a cave. Losing time, they build a wider path in able to bring their vehicles to the valley. Upon arrival in the peaceful city, Vinero demands all the gold in the city and provides motivation by having his tank shell the buildings which kills several of the city's inhabitants. All the gold is brought to Vinero who has his troops load the half track up with the items. However, the Chief of the village says there is only one more piece of gold that the greedy Vinero demands.
Tracking Vinero's army to the cave entrance to the lost city, Tarzan further demonstrates his expertise in weaponry by wiping out Vinero's rear guard ambush party by crushing them with stalactites hanging over them which he shoots down with a captured M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle. Tarzan then kills the tank driver who is watching the rest of the army load the gold onto the halftrack. Tarzan eliminates the remainder of the army by expertly using the cannon of the tank on the halftrack and the army.
Meanwhile the Chief has led Vinero to an empty room holding only one golden ornament on a wall. As Vinero eagerly attempts to pull it off the wall the door shuts and is sealed and the ceiling releases enough gold dust to fill the room and smother Vinero.
The finale involves Tarzan battling Vinero's hulking Oddjob-type henchman, Mr. Train (Don Megowan), in unarmed combat to the death.