By Bad Seed
In 1904, Morocco is the source of conflict by the powers of Imperial Germany, France, and the British Empire, all of whom are trying to establish a sphere of influence in that country. Mulai Ahmed er Raisuli (Sean Connery) is the leader of a band of Berber insurrectionists opposed to Sultan Abdelaziz and his uncle, the Bashaw of Tangier, whom Raisuli sees as corrupt and beholden to the Europeans. He kidnaps Eden Perdicaris(Candice Bergen) and her children, William (Simon Harrison) and Jennifer (Polly Gottesman) from their home, after murdering Sir Joshua Smith, a British friend of Eden's. Raisuli then issues an outrageous ransom, deliberately attempting to provoke an international incident in order to embarrass the Sultan and trigger civil war.
Back in the United States, President Theodore Roosevelt (Brian Keith) is struggling for re-election, and decides to seize the kidnapping as both a political tool (coining the phrase "Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead!") and as an effort to flex America's military muscle as a new power - despite the protests of his cautious Secretary of State, John Hay (John Huston). The American Consul to Tangier, Samuel Gummere (Geoffrey Lewis), is unable to negotiate a peaceful return of the hostages, so Roosevelt sends the South Atlantic Squadron, under the command of Admiral French Ensor Chadwick (Roy Jenson), to Tangier, either to retrieve Perdicaris themselves or to force the Sultan to give in to Raisuli's demands. Over the course of time, however, Roosevelt finds himself gaining more and more respect for Raisuli, thinking of him as an honorable man who just happens to be his enemy.