In San Francisco, Jim and Artie visit the Ramapur embassy and meet with the Sultan. They welcome him to the U.S. and inform him that President Grant is waiting to meet him in Washington. The Sultan introduces his minister, Gombal, and asks if the journey to Washington is hazardous. The agents assure him that he’ll be safe and the Sultan has first Gombal and then his female servants demonstrate that they are capable of defending their master. The agents point out that the Sultan’s female troops could be distracting and he agrees to travel alone. However, he insists that the agents protect his symbolic gift of international friendship, and insists that the gift embodies Ramapur’s national honor. When they ask what they are escorting, the Sultan shows them a baby white elephant and introduces it as Akbar,
Later, the agents depart for Washington in the Wanderer
and Artie tries to keep Akbar under control. Jim brings in Akbar’s dinner and Artie goes to the galley to make himself dinner. The Sultan notes that the train is slowing down and Jim explains that it’s passing through a canyon. Up above, bandits block the track and the leader says that they have their orders.
The train is forced to stop and gunshots ring out. Jim draws the curtain over the elephant’s stable and draws his gun but the Sultan stops him, warning that he might hit Akbar. The bandits break in and take the Sultan’s money and jewels. Jim hands over his wallet, which contains a shocking device. He takes advantage of the distraction to fight the bandits but they quickly recapture him. The leader, Scullen, prepares to beat him, but Akbar reveals himself. When Scullen threatens to kill it, the Sultan tries to stop him and is knocked out. The bandit leader orders his men to take the elephant so they can sell it, and warns Jim to stay behind or they’ll kill Akbar. Artie returns and explains that two of the bandits jumped him. Jim prepares to ride out after Akbar, leaving Artie to handle the Sultan.
Scullen and his men set up camp and the leader divides up the initial loot. He assures the others, including the young Hillard, that they’ll split up the money from the jewels once they sell it. Hillard asks about the elephant and Scullen says that he’ll handle the ransom. He tells Hillard to kill Akbar, and the young bandit asks how they’ll collect the ransom. Scullen explains that by the time they collect the ransom, it won’t matter. When Hillard hesitates, Scullen punches him and tells him to do what he’s told.
At the train, the Sultan demands one million dollars from the U.S. government for the loss of Akbar. He threatens the death of citizens in Ramapur if the government doesn’t pay, and then tells Artie to send the telegram. Before Artie can, they receive a message from Grant ordering the agents to recover the elephant at all costs. Grant insists that they don’t give in to extortion demands from the Sultan. The Sultan is offended and has Artie send a wire to Gombal that he is breaking off the meeting with Grant, sailing back to Ramapur, and seizing all American citizens in his country. Artie has no choice but to send the wire.
Jim approaches the bandit camp but one of the bandits spots him. They struggle and Jim is quickly captured.
The next morning, Artie prepares to ride out, ignoring the Sultan’s demands for an apology. The agent explains that he’s going out to help Jim, and shows him the firecrackers that he plans to use.
Hillard prepares to shoot Akbar and bury him. As the bandit starts digging, he realizes there’s not enough dirt and leads the elephant away.
At a nearby gypsy circus, Mikolik is feeding the animals Zoe Zagora, the gypsy queen, comes over to check on the animals. Mikolik points out that the circus is doing poorly and suggests that they run away together. Zoe isn’t impressed with him and insists that the circus is her responsibility. She figures that they need something big to bring in the audience. Hillard passes nearby and Zoe sees it. She approaches the bandit and offers him the hospitality of her circus. When Hillard hesitates, Zoe claims that he plans to sell Akbar to him and she offers $750 and a free fortune. Hillard discovers that he’s sold the elephant without realizing it. At the circus, Zoe reads Hillard’s fortune and secretly gasses him unconscious. Once he’s out, she takes Hillard’s money and tells Mikolik to put the bandit on his horse and send him on his way.
Artie finds the bandit camp and fakes a coyote howl to signal Jim. Jim frees himself with a sleeve knife but Scullen wakes up and spots him. The bandit leader draws his gun and orders Jim to get up and drop the knife. Jim fires a flare from the knife handle and Artie starts howling again. A horse rides toward the camp and Scullen goes to investigate. It’s Hillard, who claims he killed Akbar. Scullen points out he didn’t hear any gun shots and Hillard says that the wind must have been blowing the wrong way.
Artie sets off his firecrackers, steps out, and tells the bandits that they’re surrounded. Scullen and his men surrender but quickly realize they’ve been tricked. Jim and Artie tackle the bandits and Scullen rides away before they can stop him. They interrogate Hillard, who quickly breaks and admits that he didn’t kill Akbar. He sheepishly explains that he lost the elephant to Zoe.
That night, Jim sneaks into the gypsy circus and comes face to face with Zoe. She draws a gun on him and demands to know why he’s there. He claims that he’s on the run from the law and hoped to blend in with the circus as an acrobat. Jim provides a demonstration of his talents and Zoe agrees to take him on. However, she warns him that gypsy men are jealous of outsiders. Jim says that he can take care of himself and they kiss.
The next day, Jim is practicing and attracting the eye of the other gypsy women in the circus. He notices Mikolik training a gray baby elephant. Mikolik warns Jim that he’s onto him and that none of the men trust him. He then claims that Jim has challenged him to the gypsy dance of death. The two men step into the ring and tie their left hands together with a scarf. They fight for a single knife and Jim wins. He shows Mikolik mercy, saying he’s too important to the circus to kill. Jim announces that it’s a tie and the gypsies applaud. Artie arrives posing as a traveling peddler, Zumo, and starts selling ties and imitation jewelry.
Later that day, Artie meets secretly with Jim and tells him that the Sultan is demanding a million dollars. If he doesn’t get it, he will sail to Ramapur and execute the Americans. Jim tells his partner that the gypsies painted Akbar gray and he hasn’t been able to escape with the elephant. Artie suggests they call in the cavalry but Jim would prefer to avoid bloodshed and warns that the gypsies won’t give up Akbar without a fight.
The two agents hide in a tree and watch as Mikolik ties Akbar to a tree and settles down next to the elephant to smoke a cigar. He accepted the cigar from Artie and quickly passes out. The agents get Akbar out of the camp but the gypsies quickly capture them. The next morning, the gypsies tie the agents to a platform and Zoe orders a slow death for them by gypsy torture. Jim explains that they have to return Akbar to the Sultan and says he had to lie to her to find out if she was involved with the bandits. When Jim accuses her of painting the elephant gray, Zoe and Mikolik offer them the chance to prove their claim. The agents try to wash off the gray paint on Akbar and discover that he actually is gray. Artie reveals that he picked up a piece of the Sultan’s jewelry and it’s fake, meaning the “Sultan” is a con artist. Mikolik prepares to kill the agents, who fight back. Jim grabs a horse and rides off with Artie
In San Francisco, Scullen visit the Sultan and demands his money. The Sultan says that he’ll pay Scullen when the government pays him, and he’s given them until 6 that night to meet his terms. The bandit leader assures the Sultan that Akbar is dead and threatens the Sultan. The Sultan’s women draw guns and Gombal comes in and tells Scullen to kneel so he can decapitate him. There’s a knock on the door and Scullen tries to make a break for it, but Gombal throws him to the floor and answers the door. Jim and Artie fight their way in and subdue the Sultan’s men, but the Sultan draws a gun. Jim easily disarms him and puts him under arrest.
Later, Jim returns to the gypsy circus and explains to Zoe that the Sultan’s government was bankrupt and he’d emptied the royal treasury. She wonders if they have to give Akbar up, but Jim says that they were ordered to find a good home for the elephant and plan to leave him with her. Zoe explains that they “found” the white elephant, and he took a bath while crossing a stream. Meanwhile, Artie offers magic tips to a gypsy conjurer as Jim and Zoe look on. She offers them both jobs at the circus if they ever leave their jobs.
The agents take the Sultan to Washington aboard the Wanderer
and offer him an elegant meal. He admits that he was indiscreet but that all that will happen is that he’s deported. He tries to bribe them with his jeweled rings but Artie points out that they’re fakes. They receive a wire announcing that the monarchy in Ramapur was overthrown and the new democracy is ready to try the Sultan. The train arrives in Washington and the agents turn the Sultan over to another agent. As he goes, the Sultan tells them that he has left them one parting gift in the next compartment. They take a look and discover two of the Sultan’s female bodyguards, who kiss the agents.