King Solomon’s Mines is a fictional story set in South Africa and told from the perspective of the protagonist, Allan Quatermain. An accomplished elephant hunter and explorer, he has been hired by the Dane, Sir Henry Curtis, to locate Curtis’ long-lost brother, George Neville, who vanished while searching for the legendary diamond mines of King Solomon.
Quatermain assembles a group of foreigners and natives from several tribes. Being in possession of an ancient map that supposedly contains a route to the mines, Quatermain’s party sets off into the wilderness.
The search party traverses a desert, a mountain range, a volcanic plain, and then some snow-covered peaks. While taking shelter from a snowstorm in a cave, they lose one of their members to the cold, and also happen upon the 300-year-old corpse of the explorer whose map Quatermain possesses. After discovering a lush and fertile valley with water and plenty of game, they meet local hunters from the Kukuana tribe.
After tricking the hunters into believing that the foreigners come from the stars, Quatermain’s group accompanies the tribal party back to the capital city of Loo. There, they witness a witch-hunt and executions led by King Twala and his advisor, Gagool. The next day, it is revealed that one member of Quatermain’s group, Ignosi, is actually the rightful ruler of the Kukuanas. A civil war breaks out and Ignosi is victorious.
Ignosi demands that Gagool bring the foreigners to King Solomon’s mine. She reluctantly agrees and brings them to the Three Witches Mountains, where she opens a hidden door. The men follow her down the corridor, and finally come upon the diamonds they were after. While they are admiring the splendor, Gagool attempts to trap the men inside, but fate conspires against her and she is crushed to death as the door closes shut.