We aren’t monkeyin’ around when we say, “This is Going to be a BLAST!”
Shipwreck, a young couple constructs a tree house to protect their newborn child. Nearby, the silverback bull-ape Kerchak guards his mate Kala and their infant son. Life is shattered when a leopard runs off with the tiny ape, then kills the human parents. Kala hears a baby’s cry, and rescues the human baby from the leopard. Kala names the baby Tarzan and decides to keep him, despite Kerchak’s refusal to accept the orphan as his son.
Kala loves and encourages Tarzan, but the awkward ape-boy cannot keep up with the tribe. Kerchak sees Tarzan as a threat, but Terk befriends the boy. When Kerchak discovers that Tarzan fashioned a spear, he exiles the boy. Knowing her son won’t survive alone, Kala heads off to find him, despairing by the water’s edge. Kala assures the boy that, though he looks different, under the surface they are just the same. Years pass. Tarzan grows. Kala tries to convince Kerchak to accept the adult Tarzan, but the bull-ape is resolute – until Tarzan snares and kills the leopard that has terrorized the tribe for so long. When gunshots blast through the jungle, the apes run off, but Tarzan investigates.
Elsewhere, naturalist Jane Porter is overwhelmed by the jungle life. Just as a giant spider bears down on her, Tarzan swings in to save this foreign creature. Tarzan and Jane carefully assess each other as they realize their similar qualities.
Terk and the apes ‘redecorate’ the Porter expedition site. Returning to camp with Tarzan, Jane is stunned by the presence of the gorillas, until Kerchak arrives, dispersing them. Jane tries to convince her eccentric father, Professor Porter, and their mercenary guide, Mr. Clayton, that she discovered a wild man and a tribe of apes.
Kerchak forbids contact with the humans, but Tarzan is irresistibly drawn to Jane again and again. Porter notices Jane’s transformation from bookish girl to a woman in love. Jane teaches Tarzan more and more about humans, and continues to spend more time with him.
As she grasps that the apes are indeed Tarzan’s family, Jane’s affection for this gentle ‘wild man’ grows. Jane begs Porter to scrap plans to capture gorillas – but Clayton, tricks Tarzan into leading the humans to the nesting grounds. Terk agrees to help Tarzan by keeping Kerchak away. But Kerchak appears, scatters the humans, and demands that Tarzan decide who he is. Kala leads Tarzan to the tree house, and shows him the belongings of his human parents.
Tarzan decides to go to England with Jane, and he tells Kala his decision. Clayton kills Kerchak and Tarzan fights Clayton and nearly kills him, but Porter convinces him to let him go. The tribe convinces Tarzan that they need him to stay. Jane agrees to stay with Tarzan in the jungle.