In India in the 1920s, Superintendent Stafford (Harry Andrews) of the United Provinces Police has his men arrest the entire Bhanta tribe on vague allegations of poaching and theft in British India.
Their leader, Sultan (Yul Brynner), father of young son Munnu (Antoñito Ruiz), whose wife Tara (Imogen Hassall), is expecting their second child, is also arrested and held in a cell with criminals in Fort Najibabad.
Sultan, Tara, and many others manage to break out, but on the long ride to safety, Tara dies. Sultan is heartbroken, but his immediate objective is the safety of his little band.
Sultan and his men decide to revolt against the oppressive British, who create a mobile unit led by Officer Freddy Young (Trevor Howard) to counter this revolt, announcing a reward of Rs.500.00. But Sultan manages to elude them.
Amidst clashes between Freddy and Stafford – and the entry of Stafford’s daughter, Jane (Charlotte Rampling) – it is made known that Sultan’s tribe will be transported by train to a compound in Delhi. This news reaches Sultan, and he prepares to attack the train and free his people, little knowing the trap into which he and his men will soon be walking.
Shirley Sen Gupta