A convoy of human spaceships is returning to their homeworld after a long mission; the mostly Caucasian crew is supplemented with "Centaurans", {{Human Alien}}s played by Asian actors and with a fittingly tense backstory of racial-slash-imperialistic tension. The tension comes to a head when one ship in the convoy is hijacked by some of the Centaurans aboard and crash-lands on the third planet of a distant solar system, killing most of the crew. Nevertheless, the admiral commanding the convoy disobeys orders and turns back to rescue any survivors of the lost ship.

Because of TimeDilation, the rescue ship only arrives some 20 years after the original ship crashed (local time). The crew begins searching the site for any clues to what might have happened, with many falling prey to the dangers of the jungle planet in the process. Meanwhile, one of the Centaurian crew, a girl named Linda, meets Tang, a young man of Centaurian descent and falls in love with him, while discovering another part of the story of the lost ship.

In the end, the admiral has to decide how far he'll go to protect his own, and Linda has to decide where she'll call home.

For the ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'' episode see [[Recap/MysteryScienceTheater3000S01E04WomenOfThePrehistoricPlanet here]].
!!This film contains examples of:
* FantasticRacism
* [[LukeIAmYourFather Linda I Am Your Father]]. This big reveal is [[{{Foreshadowing}} hinted at]] very early on.
* ParentalAbandonment: For Tang, mostly because they're stuck inside a block of ice. (Or behind a pane of glass, but WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief and everything...)
* {{Slurpasaur}}: The rescue team encounters a "monster" that's just a close-up of an iguana.
* TimeDilation
* TooDumbToLive: And why, pray tell, do they need to use that tiny branch to traverse the acid pit, when there's a clear path ''around'' the pit all of ''five feet away''???
* TwistEnding: It's [[spoiler: an AdamAndEvePlot]], and this was [[spoiler:EarthAllAlong]].
''The third planet from the sun will be known as... [[spoiler:[[EarthAllAlong Earth]]]].''