The story sets off with the introduction of Civil War veteran John Carter, who while mining for gold in Arizona, gets into a skirmish with native Indians. Forced to evade inside a mysterious cave, he is mysteriously transported to Mars, or Barsoom as it is called by its inhabitants. Carter discovers that he has immense strength and agility caused by the lower force of gravity on the planet. He then becomes acquainted with the Tharks, a nomadic tribe described as having four arms, a fearsome temperament and mostly distinguished by their green skin. The Tharks first instincts to kill the strange creature are quickly pushed aside as they are amazed by Carter’s super abilities and decide to take him prisoner instead. Carter learns the importance the Tharks place on strength and brutality, and through his new found vigor he rises to earn a respectable place among the tribe. Soon the princess Dejah Thoris, who is a part of the humanoid red race of Helium, is captured by the Tharks. Carter’s attempt to save the princess causes him to be caught up in the politics of the two opposing Martian sides.