Rainsford a young hunter, fell off his boat and washed ashore on Ship Trap Island. He then came across a big house and met two mysterious people: General Zaroff and Ivan.
General Zaroff recognizes Rainsford as one of the great hunters and explains that he too is a hunter but hunts a different species than most people do, humans. He then explains it is a game and for Rainsford to be let free he must not be found and hunted.
Rainsford agreed to play the game. Zaroff tells him if he doesn't find him by midnight three days later, he will let him go home. Rainsford then hides in a tree. Zaroff comes to the foot of the tree but does not look high enough to spot Rainsford. Then he smiles.Rainsford wondered why he was smiling.