The action starts immediately as Kirby is running from eleven Mexicans firing at him with bullets “whining over his head and whizzing past the hoofs of his galloping, stolen horse” — nice grouping!
He stops to give the horse a rest and some water. In the distance, he sees the band of Mexicans come to a sudden stop. Also, the horse runs off. He surmises that both events have something to do with the sickening sweet smell in the air, and a sound like a geyser. With no horse, and the Mexicans not moving, Kirby ventures into a canyon unknown to him.
Before long he sees a rattler and a skeleton. He is able to tell from the bones that it was a white man, and sees that he died grasping a golden cylinder. Continuing along the narrowing canyon, Kirby comes to a dead end. Luckily, he is able to detect a hidden doorway and goes through it. On the other side of a dark tunnel, he emerged into a “diminutive Garden of Eden.”
Over the course of eleven days, Kirby detected signs of life, and that someone had been in his camp as he slept. He takes one of their clues to be a hint to go down into the geyser, so he spends days fashioning a rope to lower himself down.
Immediately after the next eruption, he lowers himself into the hole. At 100 feet, he discovers another horizontal tunnel and hears music. Looking up, he sees someone cut his rope and he falls, or slides down the sloping pit until he is ejected into a pool of water outside. It gets better as he is rescued from the water by a group of hot babes.
They tell him that their people have lived there forever, unknown to the outside world. But now they need help. This is proven true as a band of the titular ape-men storm the beach. They try to carry the babes back into the jungle, but Kirby shoots one of them and the others get the idea.
The girls want him to lead a revolt against their human leaders. For many years, there had been only girls born, and in the last 16 years, no babies at all. So now 34 young women were ruled by some old geezer Wise Men. Between the low birthrate and the ape-men, the girls sought outside help to help with the ape-men infestation. The Wise Men wanted to enter a treaty with the ape-men where they would give away some of the girls in exchange for peace.
They ascend the plateau where the Wise Men live. One of the very old men immediately comes at Kirby with a knife. He subdues the old man and demands to see the High Priest. The High Priest then tries to do what the Wise Men could not — Kirby responds by punching him in the face, and kicking him out of the tower.
Much of the High Priest’s power is due to his separation from the others. Like the Wizard of Oz, once they see that he is just a dude, he is greatly diminished in their eyes.
After kicking the High Priest out of his tower, Kirby takes one of the babes as his wife. Their marriage and his coronation are scheduled for the same day so they will get screwed on gifts.
Like all socialist utopias, this one has a cache of weapons hidden by the elite. Kirby distributes the rifles to the girls and makes Annie Oakleys out of them
Just as Kirby and his bride Naida are preparing to be married, Kirby spots some ape-men, presumably on the bride’s side. Luckily, this wedding is packing more heat than Connie Corleone’s. After they see that Naida has been taken, they arm up and head for the ape central.
They make their way through this underground wilderness, facing a dinosaur, wild beasts, things with tentacles — again with the tentacles! — and even the legendary Quetzacoatl. Kirby is able to save the day by merely killing the High Priest. And every last remaining ape-man. On earth.
A pretty good story. Longer than the others, so there was more meat to it. Maybe not so much in characterization, but in various scenes of action. Sadly with the cast of nubile jungle-women, there was nothing the least bit risque in their clothing or actions.
- First published in Astounding Stories of Super Science, December 1930. Entire issue is available at Gutenberg.
- Also that month: Bette Davis arrives in Hollywood; national concept of beauty takes a weird turn.