At the start of World War I, German imperial troops burn down a mission in Africa. The mission's reverend was so overtaken with disappointment that he passes away. Shortly after his well-educated, snooty sister Rose buries her brother, she must leave on the only available transport, the 'African Queen' steamboat. The boat is manned by the ill-mannered bachelor, Charlie. Together they embark on a long difficult journey, without any comfort. Rose grows...