Matt Cunningham is a thirteen-year-old whiz kid from Los Angeles who\'s completely absorbed by his laptop computer. Preferring his travels on the information highway, Matt is dismayed to find himself on an East African Safari organized by his divorced mother Beverly.But once exposed to the spectacular plains of Kenya, with its magnificent wildlife and breathtaking terrain, Matt\'s view of the world expands and the portable computer suddenly lies forgotten on the seat of the Land Rover. While Beverly meets handsome Safari guide, Clive Potter, Matt befriends one of the rangers\' sons, a young Kenyan boy his own age, named Jomo. Together Jomo and Matt develop a relationship with a baby orphaned elephant whom they name \"Ellie.\" The young pachyderm is being held by the rangers pending her sale to Harlo Ethridge, an unscrupulous American businessman, who plans to make her the centerpiece of his tourist exhibit back in the States. When Harlo arrives to collect his elephant, Matt and Jomo hide out on the back of his truck, and at a certain opportune moment, release Ellie and escape with her into the bush, hoping to find a wild herd which might \"adopt\" baby Ellie. Thus begins a wild chase across the African veldt. The boys\' adventures carry them through dangerous Masai territory, into encounters with wild hyena and lions. They even land in the tiny village jail. And while they are battling to win Ellie her freedom, this time it is Ellie who does the liberating. As they approach the chosen elephant herd with Ellie, they come upon Harlo\'s overturned jeep and find him lying helpless and wounded. Realizing that a man\'s life is more important than Ellie\'s freedom, they decide to build a skid and drag Harlo back to civilization. Beverly and Clive are overjoyed to find the boys unharmed. And Harlo, in thanks for saving his life, allows the boys to complete their mission and return Ellie to the world she knows.