Based on Robert C. Ruark’s novel and directed by Richard Brooks, a European and a Kenyan grow up together as close friends but are separated by the racial conflict during the Mau Mau rebellion.
In 1945 Kenya was part of British East Africa. Elizabeth Newton (Wendy Hiller) arrives in a car and gets out and greets her husband Jeff Newton (Robert Beatty) with a kiss and apologizes to her father Henry McKenzie (Walter Fitzgerald) for keeping him waiting. They place flowers on a grave, and she says that Peter is with his friend Kimani. Jeff asks why he can’t find a white playmate. Henry asks why, and Jeff says if you treat a black as a brother, he will not become a good servant. Henry says that when Caroline died, Kimani’s mother raised Peter, and that made him Kimani’s brother.
Peter Newton (Rock Hudson) and Kimani Wa Karanja (Sidney Poitier) compete in the long jump and play soccer together. Kimani scores, and Africans applaud. Henry asks Holly (Dana Wynter) when she is leaving for England, and she says she is going tomorrow and will attend school. She tells him not to let Peter marry anyone but her. He asks if Peter has proposed. She says no, but she has proposed to him often.
Peter has Africans gathered and asks which one stole the rifle. He says their tongues will not be burned if they tell the truth, but the liar’s tongue will burn. He calls on Peter who brings a bucket of boiling water. Karanja (Ken Renard) says his son Kimani will be first. Henry asks Kimani if he stole the gun, and Kimani says no. Henry dips his machete into the boiling water and places it on his tongue and then goes on to the next man and then to others. Suddenly an African tries to run away, and Lathela (Ivan Dixon) runs after him and tackles him. Karanja tells Peter that he will find the rifle and return it. Henry asks about his wife, and Karanja says the child is due any day. Peter asks his father how it works, and Henry says the Kikuyu are very religious. They fear God and trust God too. Henry says the liar’s tongue dries up. Jeff says Henry knows black witchcraft better than the Bible. Jeff asks to let him have his way with the Africans. Henry says Jeff is the perfect colonizer; what is his is his, and what is theirs is also his.
Peter, Jeff, Kimani, and Lathela get in a land rover and go hunting. They stop, and Peter sneaks up on zebras and shoots one. Jeff tells Peter not to let Kimani gut the animal so they can leave a smelly calling card for the lions. Peter tells Kimani to cut the animal open but not clean him and then service the guns. Kimani says he would like to shoot the lion, but Peter reminds him how Jeff feels about Africans and guns. Kimani complains that he does all the work, and Peter gets all the fun. Peter says when they were younger, they played; but now things are not the same. Jeff tells Peter to hit him. Peter and Kimani are shocked, and Peter turns away. Jeff slaps Kimani and orders him to do as he said now. Kimani thinks and then goes to do it. Jeff stops him and tells him from now on he is not to think but just obey. Jeff tells Peter he should have slapped him, and Peter says it would have been better if he had. Jeff laughs and tells him to forget it.
At their camp Peter tells Jeff that he had no right to hit Kimani. Jeff says blacks are blacks, and he should never argue with them. Peter says he can’t spend twenty years living with a brother and then suddenly tell him they live in different worlds. He does not believe it, and he does not like it. Jeff tells him to wait until he marries Holly and settles down and has to deal seriously with the wogs. Peter says he got a couple letters from Holly about school. Jeff says they should break camp and go after the lion. He orders Lathela and Kimani to help load, but Lathela says that Kimani is not there. Peter says they will find Kimani now. Jeff goes along, and they search. They drive, and Peter says he will meet them after sundown and goes on his own. He sees Kimani limping with a trap on his foot chased by hyenas. He climbs a tree and removes the trap. He throws a spear at one. Peter arrives and shoots his rifle at them, and they run off. Kimani climbs down, and Peter carries him. Peter asks if it hurts, and Kimani says no. Peter tells him to stop calling him “Bwana.” Peter tells him to be honest, and Kimani says it hurts where Jeff slapped him. Peter says to stop thinking about it. They stop to rest, and Kimani says no one ever struck him in anger before, and he cannot forget it. Kimani says they both speak Kikuyu and English, but Peter is white and the master while he is black and the servant. Kimani says he carries the gun, but Peter shoots it. Peter says he can shoot it, and Kimani says it is not the gun. Kimani is crying and says they cannot talk as friends anymore. Peter asks why, and Kimani says they are not children nor friends anymore. Peter says he saved his life as a friend and will always be his friend. Peter carries Kimani as they walk on.
Elizabeth is taking care of Karanja’s wife. Karanja says there is a curse, and he and his friend say they saw bad omens. She tells them not to talk like that. The friend asks what happens if the child is born feet first, and Karanja says then it must be killed. She tells them not to touch the child, and she goes to get her father. The friend says it may be because of Kimani. He may have been struck and did not strike back, or he may have broken a law. A black woman tells Karanja that the child came feet first. Karanja tells her to do what must be done. The baby’s crying stops, and Karanja rings a bell.
In town Kimani sees a truck unload African prisoners, and one is Karanja. Njogu (Juano Hernandez) speaks to Kimani. Peter and Henry arrive and go into the courtroom. The witness Karanja says he will swear by his God. The superintendent asks if he is the father of the baby and if the baby was killed. Karanja tells what happened. He says they smothered the child and buried it under a pot. The superintendent asks if he knows that killing is against the law. Karanja agrees that murder is wrong; but he believes this was not murder because a child does not enter the tribe until he is one year old. Therefore he is not really born until his second year. He says a demon was killed. Then they sacrificed a ram; but the curse is still at work because he is still there. He is asked if he would do the same if another child was born to him feet first, and he says yes.
Later Henry asks the superintendent what they are trying to do for these people, and the superintendent says observe the law. Henry asks whose law and says it is surely not their law. The superintendent says all men are equal before the law, but Henry questions if that is true. The superintendent says the man is an accomplice to murder, but Henry asks if they can make him understand it. He says they have taken away their customs, habits, religion, and stopped their tribal dances and circumcising their women. Then he says we offer them our way of life which they do not understand. He says the Africans get different wages and a different life, and we mock their wise men. He says their children will lose respect for their elders and fathers. Then they will have to look out. They may lose their respect for our white Jesus too and turn to something else. She says it won’t be us. The superintendent tells Peter they must teach the Africans to respect the law, or they will want to rule this country. Peter asks what could give them that idea, and he walks out.
Henry, Peter, and Kimani visit Karanja in jail, and Henry tells him he can’t go home yet. Karanja tells Peter that he is glad he did not strike his son and that he is still his friend. Peter says he is Karanja’s friend too for as long as they want. As they leave, Kimani stays behind and tells his father through the bars that he does not believe in his witchcraft. He says that he is in jail not because of a curse but because they are judged by the British laws. Kimani says that is the truth and that he must follow that truth and strike back. He says they are men not animals. Karanja says he will become headman as he was. Kimani asks if that is to be his life, to be a headman who serves the whites. He says this land can serve him too, and he wants his own land. Karanja says that he must earn it, and Kimani says he will.
Kimani runs and looks into a room. A man grabs him. He wakes up in a room, and a man grabs him and asks why he came here. He says Njogu told him to come here, and he says he came to fight the white man. He admits he ran away from McKenzie, but he did not steal guns or money. He asks why he should steal, and a man why asks why he ran. Njogu introduces his daughter Wanju, and he says they can use him to fight the white man. They will take him to the mountains and train him. First they will teach him how to steal guns.
Kimani goes with others in a truck. At night Kimani knocks on a door and says he needs work. An African servant walks outside with him, and a man threatens him with a machete. They have him call another man, and both are knocked down. They go in, and Kimani says one of these men is dead.
Peter comes into the office of the policeman Hilary and says that Kimani is missing. He wants him found, but he did no steal anything. Hilary asks for a description and says a houseboy was killed last night. A gang broke in and stole guns and whiskey. Peter says Kimani is not a criminal, and the policeman is skeptical. Peter tells him to find him and says he is only guilty of being born black.
At a camp the Africans dance and drink. Kimani is given a rifle. Kimani says he can kill a lion with it. Njogu and Wanju arrive, and the dancing stops. Njogu smashes the liquor bottles and says there will be no more drinking there. Njogu sees that Kimani has earned a gun, but Kimani says one of their people was killed. Njogu says accidents happen; it was the will of God. Kimani says he does not like their ways. He wants to go free his father in his own way, but Njogu orders him to sit down. He says he cannot leave because the houseboy was killed and because the knows their names and faces and where they live. They are safe only if he stays with them, or if he is dead. He says they will not always be hunted like animals. They have great plans to drive the white men from their country and take back their land.
In 1952 a plane lands in Nairobi, and Holly gets off the plane. Peter tells her it has been a long time. They hug, and Elizabeth tells Jeff to get her luggage. Peter drives them and parks in the city. Peter sees Kimani who runs away. Peter runs after him. Peter goes back to the car and says he thought he saw Kimani.
Kimani enters a tool shop and says he came to pray. The man holds a gun below the counter and says this is not a church. Kimani says his God does not live in a church. He tells his name. The shopkeeper looks in a book and nods. Kimani goes upstairs to a room where about twenty Africans are listening to Adam Marenga (Frederick O’Neal) who wears glasses and is dressed in a suit and tie. Adam says they are beggars and slaves in their own land, but a few British have made millions their servants. He asks why they are the masters, and we are the slaves. It is not white magic nor God’s will; it is because they have guns. He says they will have guns too and asks if they are ready. He says the whole colored world burns with the fire of freedom and revolt. He asks if they have questions and asks Kimani what troubles him. He asks if the only way they can get their freedom is by the spilling of blood. Adam says they will never drive the British out with words and friendship. Kimani says the white men did not take the land with guns, but they bought it. This is truth, and he must follow truth. Adam asks if he was educated in white missionary schools, and Kimani says he was. Adam says long ago the land belonged to the people, to the clan, and only the clan can sell the land. He says only Kikuyus can sell the land, and the British can never become Kikuyus. He asks if he is Kikuyu or has he become British. Njogu says his father was a friend of the British, but he died in a British prison. Adam says the only way to drive out the British is by terror and death. Njogu says one must be for them or against them. Njogu tells all who are with them to stand. They all stand up quickly, and then Kimani stands up too. Adam says their name and symbol is “Mau Mau.” He has them take an oath to kill an Englishman or the oath will kill them and their families.
Peter is dancing with Holly while Jeff and Elizabeth sit and talk at a table.
They drive home in two vehicles, and Peter and Holly have theirs stop so they can get out and look at Mount Kenya. She says she feels she is home now, and she tells Peter that she loves him and always will. She wishes it could always be like this, and he kisses her.
Henry asks Kimani’s wife why her husband went away and why she did not go with him. She says she was afraid but does not say why. Joe Matson (Michael Pate) asks Henry what is wrong. He mentions that Kikuyus have disappeared from his place and their neighbors too. He asks Henry why she is afraid.
In the house Peter plays with children. Henry, Elizabeth, and Jeff go into Holly’s room, and Henry says they came according to Kikuyu custom to speak on behalf of Peter the bachelor to ask Holly the spinster, and they negotiate. He asks if she accepts his son, and they drink to it. Henry kisses her cheek and thanks her for becoming one of their family.
In a village Njogu tells Africans they must take the Mau Mau oath and become part of the army, but those who refuse or break the oath will die. Njogu explains the rituals they must go through with sheep’s blood, millet, earth, and apples. He tells Kimani to take off his European clothes, and he does so. He holds up his arm, and the Njogu cuts it with a machete. Kimani drinks and swallows seven times. He promises to steal guns, never be a Christian, and drive out all Europeans or kill them. Later Kimani is washing his arm, and Njogu says they have all sworn. Kimani says he feels unclean. He says he will not let Wajiru take this oath. Njogu says she is loyal and does not have to. Kimani asks why that shame was necessary, and Njogu says it binds them together. They will feel strong with power and purpose. Kimani asks Njogu who gave him the oath, and he admits he never took it. He says he will give up his life, but he is too old to give up his faith. Kimani says his daughter carries his child, and he wants to marry her. Njogu says he considers them married. The big man says their first attack should be on the McKenzie place, but Kimani says that was his home and friends. The big man says a great leader has no friends, and he asks him to prove his loyalty.
Peter drives the land rover, and Holly films wild animals and laughs.
At the camp in the evening Holly thanks Peter for a lovely day. He kisses her, and she says it all smells of life. He says someday this will all be farm country. He says his father’s crops were wiped out by locusts four years ago. The next year Henry put his money into cattle, but they died of rinderpest or had to be killed. His father borrowed money, and he takes hunters on safari to pay back the loan. If the land is good this year, he will be back on the farm where he belongs. She says that would be a wonderful wedding present. He says he has the two women he loves the most, her and Africa. She says she can do things that Africa can’t. They kiss. Peter hears something and has a strange feeling.
Kimani looks at a white boy sleeping under a mosquito net. He draws his machete and goes out the window on to the roof. He sees a car arrive, and Elizabeth gets out. Jeff parks the car. As he gets out, the Mau Maus grab him, and Kimani asks if he remembers him and says he has come home. They hear smashing, and Kimani goes inside and saves bleeding Elizabeth from being killed. He smashes a mirror.
Peter is driving, and on the radio they hear that Jeff Newton and two of his children are dead and that his wife Elizabeth is in critical condition. Mrs. Matson was murdered. The chief who leads the anti-Mau Mau movement was murdered at Kiambu.
In the house Peter sees the servants a policeman is questioning. The policeman says it was lucky his father and one boy were out visiting. Peter uncovers the dead bodies, and Holly turns away. A doctor comes in and asks what type blood they have so they can save Elizabeth. Lathela donates his blood while Henry, Holly, and Peter wait in the room with Elizabeth. Peter asks why.
A truck comes into a town, and Kimani and other Mau Maus get out and smash things. He smashes a door that releases prisoners. An African guard uses a machine gun to kill two Mau Maus, but Kimani knocks him down and takes the gun. He gets on the back of the truck and shoots the machine gun as they depart.
In a city African and British troops march with a marching band. A radio announces that Kenya is in a state of emergency because terrorists are being sworn into the Mau Mau organization. They are fighting in small guerrilla gangs. Any African found with a gun may be punished by death.
Peter is packing and tells Holly that he has to go. He tells her to help keep the place going while he is gone. She is afraid of what will happen to them.
A British officer tells the white farmers who have gathered in a home that they must get information for the government. Their job is track them down and bring in prisoners. Joe says they should kill them, and Peter asks if he means all six million Africans in Kenya. Lathela is standing behind him. The officer says that makes the odds 150 to 1. Peter says they are not fighting the Kikuyu nation but the Mau Maus. They should not kill loyal Kikuyus, but Joe says they are not loyal. He was born there, but Peter says killing is no answer. Joe says the blacks had Africa for thousands of years, but the whites made it better. Peter says it is not a question of black and white. The officer tells Joe he must obey orders or keep out of this. Joe says he will try it his way for a while.
Peter is leading a small group with Lathela and tells him no smoking and no fires for cooking. In the rain they try to sleep.
Henry closes a window, and Holly serves food. They sit and eat with young Jeff. Later Henry and Holly walk out on the porch during the rain. He says the rain will do good in the off season. He says she is doing a good job like his wife helped him. She says she is weak, afraid, and lonely. Elizabeth comes out and tells her father that she wants to go to Nairobi because she is going to have another baby. She says she wants this baby more than anything.
Peter hears African chanting, and he hides in a stream as they pass by. Later he leads his men down a hill toward their camp. He tells them to listen carefully and then speaks in Kikuyu, saying they are surrounded by police. Some run away. He tells them to lay down their guns. One man starts shooting at them. A white man uses a machine gun, and Joe throws a grenade, destroying a hut. They advance and shoot a few before gathering the others in the center. Joe asks his loyal servant Waithaka if he knows any of these people, but no one recognizes Njogu. They are taken away in a truck.
At night in a camp Joe finds scars on their arms and back to know who has taken the oath. Njogu shows Peter that he has no scars. Joe questions a woman and threatens to kill her if she does not say who made her swear to the oath. He slaps her. She says it was Waithaka, but he swears he never saw her before. Joe hits him and finds his scars. He drags him into a barbed wire jail and tells Peter this is one of his loyal Kikuyus.
Inside a house Joe is interrogating Waithaka and asks who gave him the oath. He says it was dark, and he could not see. Peter tells a farmer they are not far from being savages either. Joe and Peter take Waithaka, and he identifies Njogu as the oath-giver. Njogu admits he gave the oath to all of them, and they know nothing; from him they will get nothing. Joe locks Waithaka in the cage as he cries that he promised him he would not put him back there. The other prisoners attack him, and he screams.
At home Holly is sewing with Elizabeth, Henry, and little Jeff. They hear a knock, and Peter comes in quite dirty. He asks Holly to excuse his appearance and says he needs a drink. Henry says he will help him. Peter says they all need help, and the government needs help. He drops the drink and collapses. Henry and Holly help him to a bed. Henry says strange things happen to people in war, but she says he will be the same. They undress him, and she washes him in a tub. He seems feverish in bed, and she takes care of him.
Peter is lying on a plowed field and says he forgot how great the earth feels. She says she loves him and needs him. He says he had a nightmare last night. She kisses him. She asks if it is not the same. He prevaricates, and she says he makes her feel ashamed.
Elizabeth finds Peter sitting under a tree and says she is sorry he has to go tonight. She says it is not easy for Holly, going to bed with a rifle instead of a husband. She says he is her whole life and tells him not to shut her out. He says he feels empty and dead. At night he is afraid. He thinks of how much he wants her, but he feels unclean. He asks how much time is left.
Henry asks Peter if he is ready, and Peter goes to Holly. She asks him not to go. He asks if she expects him to run out, and she says they can go together to where there is no war. He says they belong here on their land they have worked and paid for. He says nobody will drive him off this land. She asks what the land is doing to them and wants him to take her away from here. He says it is their home, but she says they say it is not. He says they lie; war is filled with lies. She says her place is with him but that he has no place for her. She asks again to go away together, but he kisses her and walks out.
Joe slaps tied-up Njogu and demands to know the names. He is untied, and Henry and Peter come in. Njogu asks if Henry is not afraid of Mau Mau. Henry says he is not afraid of Mau Maus but of breaking an oath. He asks how he gave the oath but never took it himself. Njogu says he believes in the faith of his fathers. Henry says good and asks for the names of the leaders and oath-givers. Njogu laughs. Henry says by speaking he can help them end the war. Njogu says nothing will make him speak out.
During a rainstorm the officer comes into the house. Henry says the Kikuyus believe that thunder is the sound of God cracking his joints, and lightning is his sword of retribution. Joe thinks he may believe that black hogwash, but Henry says it is important if their friend in there believes it. Joe says he will never break him with mumbo-jumbo; but Henry says if he kills him, he will be dead. The officer tells Henry to go on. Henry says you have to fight an idea with a better idea. Henry asks for one more try with the help of this weather.
Njogu is praying and asks for a sign. Henry orders Lathela to get kerosene and dry wood. They take Njogu outside to a small fire. Njogu says he is not afraid to face God. Henry asks if God told him to steal and murder and burn and hate. He asks if it is the will of God to drink blood. Henry asks him to swear by his sacred githathi stone. He hands him the stone and asks him a series of questions. Njogu cannot swear that God told him to create Mau Mau. Henry says he is afraid to face his God. Peter asks if the Mau Mau drives them out, what happens. Njogu answers freedom. Henry says he did not take the oath because he wanted to be able to come back to God. Njogu sees lightning and tells Ngai that he comes to him faithful with no other gods. Henry says he has broken the laws of his God. He gave the oath to others by force. He says these are the worst violations and asks how he can lead his people back to God. He asks if he wants his people to have a future as a broken hyena. Njogu says no. Peter asks who is the oath-giver in Nairobi. Henry says if God cannot accept Mau Mau, then Mau Mau cannot lead his people. Njogu says his name in Nairobi is Timbu. Peter asks who gives the oaths in Thomson’s Falls, and Njogu says it is the lorry driver for Bwana Wilson. Peter asks about Niri. Peter asks if the Mau Mau are in their telephone service, and he asks the code words for guns and ammunition. Njogu tells him these things. Peter asks who led the attack on the McKenzie farm, and Njogu says it was the husband of his daughter. Peter asks his name, and Njogu says it was Kimani.
Radio reports that the information has led to the arrest of many Mau Mau leaders and that loyal Kikuyus are cooperating. Witnesses wear white hoods while they pick out the Mau Maus from a line.
Peter comes into the house and tells the officer that he and Lathela are going after Kimani. He takes bullets, and the officer asks what he will do when he finds him. Peter says he will ask him to surrender because he believes in peace as much as they do. Joe stops him and says that means negotiation and asks what terms he will give him, a seat in parliament. Joe calls him a black liberator, and Peter pushes him against the door. The officer asks what terms, and Peter says the lives of his people. The officer says he will not have one chance in a thousand of coming out alive if Kimani took the oath.
Holly is cooking while Henry listens to the radio. They hear shooting, and Elizabeth has Henry send up the flares. They hear police whistles as the shooting continues. Holly shoots an African who has a torch, and Elizabeth kills another. Holly is in shock as she walks back into the house. Henry says she can take Elizabeth to Nairobi tomorrow to the hospital and stay there. Elizabeth says they will get her a flat in town.
Out in the wild Peter asks Lathela if he found Kimani. Lathela says he is a big general now. He does not know if he will come or whether he will speak or kill.
Peter and Lathela are resting at night and hear drums. Kimani tells them to put down their guns, and Peter does so. He orders Peter to tell Lathela to build a fire so that his comrades can see him. Peter says they are alone and have nothing to fear. Kimani says he knows this. Kimani asks for tobacco and why he came. Peter turns and asks if they can talk face to face. Kimani says no and points his pistol by his face. Peter says that Njogu is their prisoner and gave them many names, but he is not harmed. Kimani asks why he turned against them when he was not afraid to die. Peter says he was afraid for his soul. He asks Kimani if he can understand that. Kimani lights a cigarette and says yes. Peter says he must know the war is going badly for him, but Kimani says they can lose a battle and win the war. Peter asks if they can live as friends. Kimani says friends have equal rights. Peter says they will come, but Kimani says they have to take them. He asks what Peter wants of him. Peter asks him to surrender and bring in his people. Kimani asks on what terms. Peter says justice and understanding; if his people will stop fighting, they will stop too. He says he must have faith and try. Kimani says they tried before, and Peter says to try again and again. Peter asks if he loves his wife and children who believe in him. Kimani says he has a son, and Peter says he will find a better world. Kimani remembers their childhood together, and he asks about Peter’s father. Peter says he is well. Kimani says he is a good man and was a friend of his father. Kimani asks about Elizabeth, and Peter says she is pregnant. Kimani says he did not hurt her or her children. Peter believes him, and Kimani asks what happened to them. He asks when the hatred began, and Peter says it was before they were born. Kimani says he will talk to his people and tell them that he trusts Peter. They must decide for themselves, and it will take time. He will have the answer in four days. If they agree, they will come to the meadow by the hidden spring. Peter says he knows it and will be there. Peter puts out his hand, and Kimani grasps it.
Peter arrives and goes in the house. Henry says he pulled it off, and he wants to hear all about it. Peter looks for Holly but realizes she left. Henry says she is with Elizabeth in Nairobi. Henry says he asked her to go and tells him not to blame her.
The big man tells Kimani that what he is doing is stupid. Kimani says they need food and medicine. The big man asks if he can talk to them, and Kimani says he can’t talk to starving people. The big man says they may shoot them down. Kimani says he has the word of his friend. The big man says he is white and hates them, but Kimani says it is his own hatred that he sees in others.
Peter in a suit and tie finds Holly in the hall at the hospital and says he called at her flat. She says he should not see Elizabeth now because she is overdue. She goes outside and says he looks thinner. He says she looks good. He kisses her, and she responds with passion. She asks if he has to go back, and he says tonight. He says they will go away for the honeymoon they never had. She says they do not have to go away for that. He thought she wanted to, but she says that seems like a hundred years ago. She wants to go home. He says the war may not be over for a long time. She says she used to blame the war for everything. He says someone else’s war is always to blame. She says she was to blame. She realizes you cannot run away from the world; you have to live in it. He says she is a big girl now, and she says she understands about that other woman too. He says Africa is not jealous, and she says she is not either. They kiss. A nurse comes out and says that Peter has to start off now. He leaves, and Holly prays it will be soon.
Peter is driving at night, and the officer tells him to go faster so that they can get there before daylight. He says Joe Matson heard about it. Peter says he should have stopped him. He says they will have to keep his finger off the trigger, or it will be murder instead of a cease-fire.
A doctor tells Elizabeth that she has a boy.
In the morning in the valley Joe Matson says this place is a perfect trap. Joe says he is taking cover, and other men do the same. Kimani arrives with men, women, and children. They drink from the stream and wait. Joe has a man shout for them to put down their guns, and they start shooting at the Mau Maus, killing many. Kimani takes cover and has a pistol. He comes out and shouts for them to wait. Joe shoots at him, and Kimani dives behind a bush. Joe kills Kimani’s wife. Peter, the officer, and Lathela arrive and see the slaughter. Kimani crawls to pick up his baby boy. He gets up and runs, grabbing a rifle from a falling man. He rushes toward Joe who runs out of ammunition. Kimani throws the rifle at him. He draws his pistol and shoots three times and then throws it down. He picks up the rifle and runs up the hill. Peter and Lathela follow him. Kimani hides in the woods. He puts down the baby and finds a pit with spears. He puts the rifle there. He picks up the baby and goes into a cave where he digs up a cloth wrapped around a rifle. He waits there.
At night Lathela asks Peter if they are hunting for Kimani so that he can kill him. Peter says he won’t, and he does not want him to think he betrayed him. Peter says if he escapes, the Mau Mau will fight harder and longer. Lathela says this time Kimani will try to kill him. Peter says he might and tells Lathela not to come along. Lathela says it is his fight too because the Mau Mau have killed a hundred of his people for every white man. Lathela says he wants what Kimani wants but that Mau Mau is not the way to get those things.
In the morning Kimani walks with a machete, and Peter sees him and calls to him. Kimani runs back into the cave. Peter tells Lathela to stay there and not shoot. Peter walks toward the cave with no gun. Kimani says they killed his wife and his people. Peter says they both were betrayed and that he is there without a weapon. Kimani asks if he is alone, and Peter says that Lathela is here too. Peter says he is coming in. Kimani climbs up and tells him to stay away. Peter comes in the cave and calls his name. Kimani shoots his machine gun, and Peter ducks down. Kimani tries to climb out of the cave and drops his gun. Peter gets up and sees Kimani depart the cave. Kimani runs and picks up his crying baby and puts him by a tree. He goes back to the hole with the spears and gets the other rifle. Peter jumps him from behind, and he loses the rifle. Kimani draws his machete, and Peter runs away and gets behind a big tree. Kimani tries to attack him, and Peter retreats and is backed up to the hole with the spears. He blocks Kimani’s arm, and they struggle. Peter gets Kimani down and holds the blade against his neck and says not to make him do it. He tells Kimani to come back with him, and they will start over. He says this time it will be different, but Kimani says it is too late for both of them. Peter asks if he must kill him, and Kimani says yes. Peter gets off of him, and Kimani goes to pick up his rifle but falls into the hole on the spear points. Lathela brings the baby and hands it to Peter. Kimani asks him to give him the child and bury them both, but Peter says no. Lathela says he is dead. Lathela asks Peter what he will do with the child. Peter says he will raise him with Elizabeth’s boy. He says maybe their future will be better if it is not too late.
This drama is set in a historical context that depicts the Mau Mau rebellion against British imperialism in Kenya using terrorist methods and militaristic and religious controls. The friendship of the two men promises hope because they both want to live in peace with justice; but both are caught up the in the violent struggle promoted by others who are driven by hatred to use violence and cruelty. Intelligent people on both sides realize there are better ways to bring about justice and equal rights and independence for Africans.