Political and personal intrigues surround a group of characters in Malaya, after the close of the Second World War.
Three friends who fought the Japanese in Malaya during World War II end up on opposing sides in the Communist insurgency following the war. Ferris (Holden) becomes a prosperous rubber plantation owner, with Dhana (Capucine) his mistress is now head of a schoolteacher’s union. The third former guerilla, Ng (Tamba) goes to Moscow to obtain an education. When he returns, an even more committed revolutionary than during the war, Dhana is torn between the two. Ferris, whose friendship with Ng makes him and his holdings exempt from terrorism, tries to steer clear of the conflict, but is inexorably drawn in when Dhana is arrested and sentenced to death for carrying explosives for the terrorists. As an additional complication, Candace Trumpey (Susannah York), the daughter of the British Resident who Ferris had met at the end of the war, has an infatuation with the worldly Ferris. The naive Candace offers herself as a hostage and falls into Ng’s hands; he threatens to kill her if the sentence on Dharma is carried out. Ferris offers to flush Ng out in exchange for Dhana’s life, but is given only seven days to do so.