In Central Africa in 1870, accompanied by a group of indigenous hunters, Scottish anthropologist Jamie Dodd scours the rain forest in search of a rare species. Following in Darwin's footsteps, the young scientist hopes to find the 'missing link' that forms the evolutionary bridge between ape and human. When he encounters the local indigenous population of pygmies, he thinks he's found the answer to the riddle. Dodd traps two of them and ships them back to his cold native Scotland. Together with his colleagues, Auchinleck and MacBride, the trio intend to present their findings to the Academy of Science in Edinburgh. But the three men become seriously divided in their motivations: whereas Dodd's friends see the captive pygmies as no more than emotionless living specimens subject to science, Dodd acknowledges the pygmies as fellow human beings. He does everything in his power to liberate the pair from their undignified and inhumane caged existence despite the fact that his actions could cost him his future.