Coy Banton (Jock Mahoney) is one of the notorious Banton gang led by the patriarch Abel (John Carradine), and they have just robbed a bank in East Africa, killing a lawman and a passerby in the process. Once Tarzan (Gordon Scott), the so-called ape man who lives in the jungle as a force for all that is right, hears about this crime he contrives to capture Coy, the man who pulled the trigger, but once he has he finds the locals are living in fear and do not wish to help him. Therefore Tarzan must take his prisoner on the boat downriver to Cairobi - and justice.
Easier said than done when the Bantons blow up that boat, leaving our hero no option but to make the journey on foot - for some reason there was only one vessel in the area, which smacks of plot contrivance, but it does set the adventure in motion. This was barrel-chested Gordon Scott's final outing as the jungle he-man, after his career - and series - high in the cult classic Tarzan's Greatest Adventure; he went to Italy after this for more traditional muscleman movies. Where The Magnificent had not been as good as the previous instalment, it was still an engrossing yarn with occasional moments of true excellence.
Evidently producer Sy Weintraub's fresh approach to the character, making him less feral and more capable of mixing with people, paid dividends as under Robert Day's fine direction Tarzan was able to carry on into the sixties with some successful efforts, the one following this actually starring Jock Mahoney, the bad guy here, in the role of the protagonist, not that there were many complaints as most audiences didn't really notice. As for Scott, he was one of the more convincing Tarzans thanks to his obvious physical prowess, yes, he occasionally gave in to the demands of the stunt double, but otherwise he looked as if he could handle himself in a fight.
Just as well when this ended with one of the more gruelling examples of hand-to-hand combat in the entire series, but before that stage Tarzan had to guide the boat's passengers across the African plains and jungles, not forgetting the quicksand, as they refused to stay and wait for the next boat which was three weeks away. This lot were largely unsuited to life in the raw, apart from Earl Cameron's Tate, the sole African, who is the only member of the party Tarzan would like to take along with him, but when the others included Lionel Jeffries as a blowhard who just has to be taken down a peg or two you could see where the apeman was coming from.
One of the party was Charles 'Bud' Tingwell's ex-doctor, a man with a past we have to guess at, and agonising with a lack of confidence. Yet as his bravery increases in the face of the peril they suffer with the Banton gang hot on their trail, Jeffries' businessman, needing to get to the city for his lucrative business deal, sees his bluff and bluster exposed as a sham, and it's amusing to see the actor try to steal scenes from Scott, who simply had to show up in his loincloth to draw attention towards himself. With the party getting picked off one by one and the Bantons similarly enduring their losses, the Herculean task is vividly depicted, and as the opening titles proudly announce the film was shot in actual African locations, this, like Greatest Adventure before it, had a sense of authenticity and a more serious intent which was to its advantage. It may lean towards the repetitive, one damn thing after another style of storytelling, but this was a strong example of the series. Music by Ken Jones.