As the story opens a battle ensues between the Red Men of Mars and the Tharks. Tars Tarkas is leading a volley when John Carter comes on the scene. A Red Man's flying machine had been damaged and was forced to land. Out of this ship came the most beautiful creature John Carter had ever seen- Dejah Thoris, the Princess of Helium. Her background is given and how she came to be involved in the current struggle with the Tharks, up to and including her marriage to John Carter.