The TARDIS materialises in the Holy Land during King Richard I's crusade against the Muslims. Saracen raiders led by the evil El Akir attack the King's hunting party, and when the travellers stumble into the fray the King escapes and Barbara is captured. The King, weary of the fighting, knights Ian and sends him to the Sultan Saladin's court, to negotiate Barbara's release and offer the hand of the King's sister in marriage to the Sultan's brother, Saphadin. However, Ian learns that El Akir, humiliated by his failure to capture Richard, has taken Barbara to add to his harem. With the help of a mischievous bandit and a merchant whose family was murdered by El Akir, Ian rescues Barbara and takes her back to Jaffa. There, despite their best efforts to avoid palace politics, the Doctor and Vicki have made an enemy of the Earl of Leicester, and the travellers barely escape with their lives.