The first film, Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) is set in 1936. Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is hired by government agents to locate the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis. The Nazis have teams searching for religious artifacts, including the Ark, which is rumored to make an army that carries the Ark before it invincible. The Nazis are being helped by Indiana’s nemesis René Belloq (Paul Freeman). With the help of his old flame Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) and Sallah (John Rhys-Davies), Indiana manages to recover the Ark in Egypt. The Nazis steal the Ark and capture Indiana and Marion. Belloq and the Nazis perform a ceremony to open the Ark, but when they do so, they are all killed gruesomely by the Ark’s wrath. Indiana and Marion, who survived by closing their eyes, manage to get the Ark to the United States, where it is stored in a secret government warehouse.
After arriving in India, Indiana Jones is asked by a desperate village to find a mystical stone. He agrees, and stumbles upon a secret cult plotting a terrible plan in the catacombs of an ancient palace.