Zaroff hunts humans. He is bored with hunting animals. He has a new type of animal that he is hunting--human beings.
When Rainsford lands on the island, he learns quickly that Zaroff has a bizarre hobby. Rainsford learns that Zaroff plans to hunt Rainsford:
While he shares both an interest in hunting and a refined nature with Zaroff, Rainsford believes Zaroff's sport to be brutal and Zaroff himself to be a murderer. As the object of the hunt, Rainsford constantly attempts to preserve his ''nerve" and uses his knowledge of hunting and trapping to elude Zaroff.
Rainsford has to try and escape from Zaroff. For three days, Rainsford does just that. He manages to kill Ivan in a trap.
Zaroff is more intense than ever after Ivan's death. Finally, Rainsford has to jump from a cliff to save his own life. Rainsford sneaks into Zaroff's house before Zaroff does. Rainsford is waiting behind the curtain and he surprises Zaroff:
Rainsford surprises Zaroff in his bedroom. Rainsford refuses to end the game there, however, and kills Zaroff. Rainsford then spends a comfortable night in Zaroff's bed,
The ending of the story leaves the reader to his imagination as to whether or not Rainsford will become the next Zaroff:
Rainsford then spends a comfortable night in Zaroff's bed, which raises the question of whether he will simply replace the evil Zaroff.
Will Rainsford carry on in Zaroff's place and begin hunting humans? Hopefully, Rainsford has better sense.