When fires sweep through the rainforest near their property along the Parana River, a poor tobacco-farming family goes on high alert. The head of the family, João, correctly suspects the fire is a result of slash-and-burn tactics by ruthless land-grabbers intent on acquiring the farm he shares with his lovely daughter, Vânia (Braga), and her partner, Jara Help arrives in the form of Kaí, an enigmatic man, bearing indigenous tattoos who comes out of the jungle with the grace of a jaguar.
But the violence of the land-grabbers' assault catches Kaí and the farm dwellers off guard. In short order, the men shoot Jara and force João to sign over his land just before killing him and kidnapping Vânia. Undetected by the assailants, Kaí goes on the offensive. Using his animal-like abilities, he rescues Vânia, retrieves the bogus bill of sale and thwarts a counter-attack by the now-reinforced band of mercenaries-all without taking a life. But with the hornet's nest now stirred, Kaí, Vânia and Jara must decide how far they will go to preserve the farm and their vanishing way of life.