Skip to main content
BFI logo











Screenonline banner
Caravan (1946)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Writer Richard Darrell comes to the rescue of Spanish nobleman Don Carlos after the latter is nearly robbed of a valuable necklace in a London street.

During their conversation, Richard reveals that is in love with Oriana Camperdene, but by mutual agreement he will take a year out to make his fortune before marrying her. However, Oriana's childhood friend Sir Francis Castleton also has designs on her.

Instead of a fortune, all Richard has achieved is an unpublished book. Don Carlos, impressed by his intellect and brawn, says that he'll get it published, gives him an advance and hires him to take the necklace back to its Spanish owner.

Oriana's father dies, and Francis, his executor, refuses to pay her legacy until her father's debts to him are settled. He proposes marriage, and, to prove his love, casts her father's IOU into the fire. Richard arrives with news of his changed fortunes, and retrieves the IOU from the grate, discovering the debts were far less than Francis claimed.

In Spain, Richard meets an Englishman (actually Francis' sinister assistant Wycroft) who offers to find him a guide. While this is being arranged in a café, Richard is captivated by gypsy dancer Rosal. Meanwhile, the guide is plotting Richard's assassination with three companions - but this is overheard by Rosal.

Richard and the guide are set upon by the three assassins in the mountains. Richard fights valiantly, but is overpowered. Wycroft steals the necklace and leaves Richard for dead.

Rosal, who has followed them, discovers his body. She nurses Richard back to health in her cave, and discovers that he's lost his memory. She dresses him as a gypsy and swims naked for him. He gets caught in quicksand, and she helps him escape.

But a careless mention of Oriana's name brings Richard's memory back, and he pays a fruitless visit to Don Carlos' castle. Discovering that he's away in London, Richard starts to write Oriana a letter, but catches sight of a newspaper announcing her marriage to Francis. Downing a bottle of brandy, he completes the letter. He returns to Rosal, drunk, and proposes marriage to her.

Oriana arranges a dinner party, but Wycroft has invited alternative guests, who turn out to be prostitutes. When they find out who Oriana is, they express their sympathy. Oriana resolves to leave Francis. Richard's letter arrives, and Francis gleefully reads it to her, as it's deeply sarcastic and hurtful.

Oriana goes to see Don Carlos and they piece together what must have happened. He agrees to accompany Oriana to Spain to clear Richard's name. Richard comes to visit Don Carlos, but meets Oriana instead. In an emotional reunion, they discover the truth about each other's marriages.

Francis and Wycroft, having followed Oriana to Spain, approach Don Carlos' castle. Seeing them together, Richard realises that Francis sent Wycroft to kill him. Oriana tells Francis that she's leaving him, but he laughs as he knows she has no money.

Richard returns to Rosal and tells her what has happened - without mentioning Oriana. Rosal goes to Don Carlos and reveals that the would-be assassins were members of her gypsy tribe in league with an Englishman.

Oriana, recognising Wycroft from Rosal's description, goes to confront Francis, threatening him jail if the necklace isn't handed over. Francis says that gives him nothing to lose, so Oriana reluctantly agrees to return with him.

That evening, Rosal accosts Richard and accuses him of seeing Oriana behind her back. Richard tells her that he didn't know she was there and that she's married to Francis. Rosal realises that Richard proposed to her on the day he found out about this, and is insulted.

During Rosal's dance, Francis attempts to shoot Richard, but fatally wounds her instead. Oriana and Don Carlos arrive, and while the latter is entering the café, Francis and Wycroft leap into the cart and ride off with Oriana.

Richard gives chase on a horse. Francis pushes Wycroft out to his death after he protests at the speed. The wheel of the cart comes off, crashing it. Richard advances on Francis with a whip, driving him into a quicksand. Richard and Oriana marry and he finishes another book.