India, in the late nineteenth century. In Lahore, Kim is the orphaned son of an Irish soldier and nursemaid, who have both died in poverty. Kim begs in the streets, occasionally working for a horse trader, who is one of the native operatives of the British secret service. Few people realise that Kim is white, and that he carries on him documents from his father. Kim befriends an aged Tibetan Lama and becomes his disciple...and so begins his journey. An adventure both spiritual and educational, which leads also to espionage.