Virdon, Burke and Galen find the atmosphere getting warmer as they travel south. Suddenly, Virdon and Burke are caught in quicksand and Galen is unable to save them. At the last minute they are pulled out by two humans, Magnum and his son Molan. They tell them that they are tree people and take them to their tree-house village. Bronto, another of the tree people, is suspicious of the visitors and at a council meeting the next morning he challenges them to "trial by the king". At this ancient ritual two opponents must fight at the swamp before the "king", a giant alligator will kill one of them. Alan chooses to fight Bronto and in the fight he not only overpowers the alligator, he saves an unconscious Bronto from the beast. Magnum is outraged at the breaking of their tradition, but then realises the time is right to lead his people out of the swamps and back to civilisation.