An engaged English woman is pursued by an Egyptian guide in Cairo and is lured into romantic adventures.
The young Egyptian Jamil (Ramon Novarro) says good-bye at the train station to an Iowa wife and a German woman, acquiring jewelry from each. Traveling with her uncle Cecil (S. Aubrey Smith) and Power (Louise Closser Hale), Diana (Myrna Loy) is met by her fiancé Gerald (Reginald Denny). Jamil takes her dog and heroically brings back the lost pet later. Diana hires Jamil as a guide. He sings for Diana and Gerald. Diana meets Gerald's stockholder Achmed (Edward Arnold). Jamil pursues Diana impertinently by helping her climb a pyramid and sneaking into her bedroom as she is dressing. He tells her he is a prince. Gerald argues with Diana about firing Jamil and has to leave for the aqueduct. Achmed takes Diana to tea but is blackmailed by Jamil for not telling Diana he arranged to have Gerald called away. Jamil takes Achmed's orchids and tosses them on the sleeping Diana, locking himself in her bedroom while Cecil and Achmed wait outside. He kisses her and then leaves by the balcony. Diana asks the hotel to replace Jamil as her guide.
Diana and Power ride camels to visit Gerald. At camp Diana finds Jamil. Gaining her forgiveness, he says, "Kindness lives for beauty." He sings his song to her in English and kisses her again. Diana whips him and orders the men to leave for Cairo. Jamil leads her to an oasis. Diana takes a bath and is given a diaphonous Egyptian dress. Achmed comes in and welcomes her to his house. Jamil shows Achmed the jewels women have given him and says Diana paid him to bring her to Achmed, handing him a whip. Soon Diana screams, and Jamil asks for money from Achmed to keep quiet.
Jamil leaves with Diana on horses. Horsemen with guns to take Diana back to Achmed are shot by Jamil. Diana walks as Jamil rides nor can she drink until after the horse and the man. That night Jamil kisses Diana. When they leave early, he walks as she rides. Men of his tribe help them, and she meets his father. Jamil asks Diana to be his wife, and she agrees; but she breaks off the ceremony. Jamil lets her go, and she finds Gerald, who sends troops after Jamil. At his wedding Gerald tells his mother Jamil will be charged with piracy, a capital crime. Dressed as the bride, Diana hears Jamil singing. He says he would rather die than leave her. As Uncle Cecil is calling Diana to start the wedding, she tells Jamil to go; but he refuses. When they break down the door, Diana has ridden off with Jamil.
Although deceitful and manipulating, the romantic Jamil's persistence finally wins over Jamil when he is willing to die rather than leave her. The traditional prospects of Gerald are eventually outweighed by the devoted attention she receives from Jamil, fulfilling romantic fantasies.