In the city of Sun Mai, the capital of a small oriental country, the nation’s spiritual leader Tarim (Woody Strode), is dying. The fact triggers off a spate of strife and intrigue in which Tarim’s younger brother, Khan (also played by Woody Strode, with his voice dubbed by British actor George Pastell), plots to take over the country on Tarim’s death and then secure the succession for his own son.
This is in flat contradiction to what is lawful, for the true heir – Kashi (Ricky Der) – waits at a distant monastery for the call from the capital to make him the new ruler.
The monks realise that if they allow Kashi to leave the monastery without a powerful personal bodyguard, he will surely be captured by the Khan’s men. The only answer is to summon the mighty Tarzan (Jock Mahoney) from Africa to escort Kashi on his long and perilous journey.
Tarzan readily accepts the assignment but gets an early taste of the Khan’s determination when he is ambushed almost as soon as he sets foot in the country.
Managing to escape, he reaches the monastery, where he is welcomed by the monks who insist that he proves himself to be the true Tarzan.
They put him through three tests – skill, strength and courage – all of which he passes with honour.
Satisfied that he really is Tarzan, the monks entrust him with Kashi and Cho San (Tsu Kobayashi), the boy’s nursemaid, and the journey begins.
They have not travelled far before they are attacked by the Khan’s men, and although Tarzan does his best to hide his charges in nearby caves, they are discovered and captured. But the Khan has reckoned without the resources of Tarzan, who brings off a spectacular rescue of Kashi and Cho San.
The survivors of the attacking party are planning to renew their efforts to get hold of Kashi when they learn that Tarim is dead.
Khan dare not now murder Kashi who is sacred as “the chosen one”, but he can still challenge his right to rule by invoking the tests of skill – the Test of the Sapphires, the Goblet of Great Emptiness, and the Challenge of Might.
How Tarzan guards the young ruler against the villainy of Khan and his followers makes a movie full of excitement, action, colour and spectacle.
During filming in Thailand, Jock Mahoney showed off his physical prowess by swimming across a large river. Co-star Woody Strode warned Mahoney that the river was one of the dirtiest, most polluted in the world.
Still, the star swam anyway and contracted a severe case of amoebic dysentery and dengue fever, and finally, pneumonia. It took Mahoney more than 18 months to recover, and his physical stamina was permanently decreased.
Cho San, Kashi’s Nursemaid