During the trials of Medjai training, Alex O'Connell is given instructions to find a Medjai dagger hidden in the deserts; after finding the dagger, Alex encounters a sandstorm and is entombed in the desert sands, almost buried alive when a man in sweeping clothes and wide-brimmed hat pulls him out. Worn from the desert storm, Alex passes out and wakes up in a tent, to meet the man who rescued him: an older, bearded explorer named Jack, who identifies himself as a “historical entrepreneur”, specialising in finding valuable antiquities and treasures for museums all around the world. Noticing the golden bracelet on Alex’s wrist, Jack asks how Alex got the bracelet, to which Alex explains the story: during the night, however, the tent which the two are in is buried in sand from a sandstorm.
Emerging from the sands, Jack and Alex set out to find Jack’s supplies, which were stowed not far from the camp. While they walk, Jack explains that he is after an item called the Scarab Amulet, which would put him “on Easy Street”; after tracking the amulet for years, Jack claims that he is coming closer to finding it when he finds that three hyaenas have found his pack and are tearing it apart. The hyaenas attack, one leaping on Jack first when Alex uses the Manacle’s powers to lift the hungry carnivore off and throw him aside. In fear, the three hyaenas run off when Alex collapses in exhaustion with Jack remarking that the Manacle would bring a large amount of money but Alex states that he’s “really attached to it”. At that moment, Ardeth Bay finds Alex and takes both him and Jack back to the Zephyr where Rick O'Connell is pleased to see his son alive, but is angered when he meets Jack: O’Connell reveals that he is Jack’s son.
Alex chastises his father for not revealing that his grandfather was alive, to which Rick replies that his father left his mother and Rick himself when Rick was Alex’s age; Rick hadn’t heard from him since until they met that afternoon. Just then Jack shows up, knowing that Rick is talking about him and what a “family man” Jack was, prompting Rick to ask why Jack left twenty years ago, but Jack asks whether or not Rick really wants to hear it; Rick does not. Rick tells Alex to ready his things so as to leave in the morning, but Alex insists that his training still must be completed, as he is finally learning how to become a Medjai; Rick states that it was a mistake to break up the family by leaving Alex to train: Alex asks Ardeth to vouch for him, but Ardeth states that they must honour Rick’s decision, and Jack tries to convince Rick to let Alex continue his training, but Rick states that Jack’s parental advice counts for nothing, as he left his own family, to which Jack states that he will leave, and Alex is stopped by his father from changing Jack’s mind, as Rick believes that Jack would only disappoint Alex. Jack leaves at midnight on his horse, chased by Alex, who tells Jack that he left his father a note and that he would not get another chance to go on an adventure with his grandfather. Jack allows Alex to come along, and the two of them ride off at midnight, reaching a spot in the desert in which Jack senses that they must be getting close to the Temple Canyon, at which point Jack falls through a hole hidden in the sand, which reveals a vast, deep temple structure within the canyon.
Alex and his grandfather rappel down the sides and reach the chamber in which the Scarab Amulet is kept: a vast chamber separated by a deep precipice, on the other side, a single metal cage holds the Scarab Amulet. Alex attempts to use the Manacle’s power to pull the Amulet out but the Amulet will not fit through the bars of the cage holding it, at which point Jack uses a crossbow to fire an arrow with a rope attached so as to cross the chasm. Once Alex and Jack cross, reaching the other side, Jack pulls out a vial of acid, which he got from an escape artist in Calcutta and uses it to dissolve some of the bars of the cage, breaking the rest of it off. After the cage is broken off, Jack holds the Amulet in his hands, admiring the effort gone through to get it when the Amulet bites him and when dropped onto the floor, the Amulet glows as if alive, almost driving Jack and Alex off the edge of the chasm, to reveal an angry humanoid figure that resembles a scarab, demanding to know why he has been released; Alex states that it wasn’t intentional, to which the Scarab replies that if Alex and Jack do not serve him, they are expendable, throwing Jack aside. Alex brandishes the Manacle at Scarab, and Scarab hides behind a pillar, stating that the Manacle imprisoned him once; Alex and Jack climb back away from the Scarab to the other side as the Scarab ponders why Alex has released him without intending to do battle as he cuts the rope connecting the sides of the chasm with his mandibles.
Jack and Alex fall into the chasm, holding onto the rope as it slips further down into the abyss when Rick pulls them both up. The Scarab leaps over the chasm and into it, climbing back up to try and catch them when, as he is chasing them through a corridor, Rick pulls out two sticks of dynamite, lighting them, and throwing them at the Scarab, at which point they explode and crush the Scarab beneath two tons of rock. Jack points out that Rick has blocked their only escape route, to which Rick angrily orders his father to stop talking. At that moment, Alex finds a wall covered in hieroglyphs that show the Scarab as it was in ancient times: a destroyer that was imprisoned by Osiris himself with the Manacle, explaining why the Scarab would not attack Alex at first: the Scarab thought that Alex would attempt to imprison him again. As Jack and Rick argue over whose fault it was that they were stuck in the catacombs, Scarab bursts from the wall and engages Rick in a fight in which Rick is thrown about and Jack uses a trick he learned in Madrid, using his poncho as a cape in a bullfighting trick to lure the Scarab away and into a wall, where its mandibles are pinned and it is stuck.
Rick, Jack and Alex escape through the hole in the wall that Scarab made and once in the chamber that the tunnel they went through leads to, Alex notices a tattoo on Jack’s arm; Jack dismisses it as something from his youth, but Rick recognises it, too. Jack was branded with the mark of the Medjai, to which Alex remarks that, having Medjai blood in his family line, he himself truly is a Medjai. Just then, Scarab bursts through the ceiling and spits a blob of purple fluid at Rick and Jack, binding the two together back-to-back and proceeds to corner Alex, threatening to make him the first of his sacrifices, but Alex fights back, kicking the Scarab in his chest and knocking him down. Rick and Jack attempt to stand up while stuck together as Alex fights the Scarab and is overpowered. Rick chastises Jack for having come back into his life and the two realise that they must work together to save Alex, who is again being cornered by Scarab: Rick and Jack leap together, stuck as one, to stomp Scarab in the back, knocking the giant insect down.
Scarab gets back up and Rick tells Jack to do as he does and taunts Scarab so that he squeezes them while they are trapped and the cocoon holding Rick and Jack together breaks off. While Scarab is squeezing them, Rick wedges a lit stick of dynamite in Scarab’s shell and runs off with Jack and Alex as Scarab chases them. Turning a corner, Rick, Jack and Alex reach the Zephyr, which Rick drove to the canyon and moored close by earlier and has his son and father climb up a rope to the airship. As they climb the rope, the dynamite planted in Scarab’s shell explodes but Scarab is unharmed and chases the three up the canyon walls. Alex runs into the ‘’Zephyr’s’’ controls and turns the airship on while Rick unties the moorings holding the ship down but Scarab is coming closer and Alex decides to turn on the Zephyr’s vertical acceleration, blasting Scarab away with a blast of air as Rick manages to grab the Zephyr’s walkway in time for Jack to pull him back up.
While on the airship, Rick asks why Jack left his family twenty years ago, to which Jack states that he wanted to leave his Medjai life and his life as a father, seeing that one cannot outrun his destiny. Rick expresses his relief that they escaped and that their problems with Scarab are over, to which Scarab’s voice screeches out that it has only begun and Scarab himself proceeds to break through the Zephyr’s windshield, taking Alex with him as he jumps out and dropping the boy down. Alex, however, grabs onto the mooring rope and pulls himself back up as Scarab climbs up the airship’s side, using his claws to tear holes in the balloon. Rick jumps out of the airship bridge to bring Alex back, who has reached the top of the balloon as Scarab grabs him and dangles him above a great drop down the desert canyons. Rick uses his whip to make Scarab lose his footing and Scarab falls, taking Alex down with him. Alex catches onto a rope and hangs on tight while Scarab holds onto a fragment of the balloon’s side, which Alex quickly cuts off with the Medjai dagger that he obtained earlier. Scarab falls down into the canyons below.
Later when the Zephyr is moored, Alex reluctantly takes a bag of his things and gets ready to go back with his father when Rick tells him that he has changed his mind: seeing Scarab defeated by Alex made him see that Alex is capable of pursuing his destiny as a Medjai. Jack furthers the sentiment by stating that “Alexander” means “defender” in Greek, and it is a fitting name for a Medjai. Jack goes on to explain that when he was speaking to Ardeth Bay, he was informed that many more Medjai artifacts have since been lost and that Jack’s new responsibility as “charity work” is to find them, and so Jack leaves; Alex then asks his reluctant father when Alex himself might have his own Medjai tattoo.
- Nicholas Guest - Ardeth Bay
- Christopher Marquette - Alex O'Connell
- John Schneider - Rick O'Connell
- Charles Napier – Jack O'Connell
- Rene Auberjonois – Scarab
- Rick O'Connell
- Alex O'Connell
- Ardeth Bay
- Jack O'Connell (First appearance)
- Scarab(First appearance)
- Osiris(Mentioned only)
- Temple Canyon(First appearance)
- Calcutta(First mentioned)
- Madrid(First mentioned)