Once ashore, Rainsford searches the island, knowing from the shots he heard that it must be inhabited. In the midst of the jungle, he is amazed to find a luxurious chateau. In residence is retired Russian General Zaroff and his creepy manservant Ivan. The general is also an avid hunter, and an admirer of Rainsford, having read his books on hunting. Zaroff invites Rainsford to dine with him, and as the meal progresses, Rainsford becomes uncomfortably aware that, although his host has all the outward trappings of civilization, there is something a bit off about him.
Zaroff eventually confides his secret to Rainsford: he has grown bored with regular hunting, which he no longer finds challenging. Instead, he captures shipwrecked sailors, often having caused their wrecks by using a misplaced guiding light. After feeding and exercising a captive into good physical condition, he gives him food, a knife, and a head start, then hunts him down. If a captive manages to elude Zaroff, Ivan, and their pack of hunting dogs for three days, he will be released. This has never happened.
As a show of his admiration for Rainsford, Zaroff offers to let him join the hunt. Horrified and repulsed, Rainsford refuses. The general then gives him an ultimatum: he can either be tortured to death by Ivan, or become Zaroff's next prey. Naturally, Rainsford chooses the hunt. He must now use every skill he posesses to survive, hunted by a man who is not only his equal in ability, but has every advantage- an accomplice, hunting dogs, guns, and complete knowledge of the terrain.