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In Bulungan, a section of Borneo, there is constant trouble because of disturbances on the part of the natives and the men sent by the Dutch government as overseers usually meet death. Peter Gross, an American, thinks he understands the situation and accepts the position of resident. Koyala, called Argus Pheasant, daughter of a French trader and a native woman, because of her birth fiercely hates the white people, and it is she who is largely responsible for the condition of affairs in Bulungan. Peter Gross meets many perilous situations, falls into the hands of the Chinaman, Ah Sing, who plays an important part in the story, and also encounters the treachery of Koyala. In the end he wins her over and the outlook for the future is promising.