|Traci Lords as Dejah Thoris|
Princess of Mars
John Carter (Antonio Sabato, Jr.) is a modern-day U.S. Army sniper serving in Afghanistan, wounded in the line of duty and used in a teleportation experiment wherein he is transferred to Barsoom, here depicted outside our solar system. On this world, Carter exhibits the ability to leap amazing distances. Initially enslaved and held against his will on a chain and collar by the Tharks, he earns a rank among them and later saves a rival group's princess, the human-looking Dejah Thoris (Traci Lords), from death.
The group of Tharks, led by Tars Tarkas, take Carter to their leader Tal Hajus, guarded by Tars Tarkas' daughter Sola. Learning that Tarkas gave Carter a military rank only Hajus can give, Tarkas and Carter are forced to duel. Upon winning, Carter faces Sarka, an Afghan mercenary who had betrayed him. When Sarka escapes, Carter helps Tarkas kill Hajus and become the new leader of the Tharks.
Captain Carter then learns that Dejah Thoris has fled to the planetary air-cleaning station that keeps Barsoom habitable, which Sarka damages, causing the atmosphere to deteriorate. John Carter and Sarka face each other in a duel; but Sarka is killed by an insect during the fight. After Carter and Dejah Thoris re-activate the station, Carter is returned to Earth, where he declines to tell his superiors about his adventures for fear they will colonize Barsoom, and returns to military duties while hoping to return to Barsoom.