Role in the film
Sergeant Claiborne is first seen at the start of the film when he, along with Buldeo and another soldier were reprimanded by Nathoo (Mowgli's father and a tour guide) for hunting in the Black Jungle and breaking the jungle law. Claiborne and the other two had been, allegedly, hunting "a few animals here or there" when the mighty tiger Shere Khan found out about their sport-killing. Nathoo warns them to be aware of the tiger now that he suspects the entire tour party.
Later that evening, as the group makes encampment, Claiborne is playing a game of solitaire, while the infuriated Shere Khan prepares to attack the camp, first by killing the young soldier who had hunted with them earlier. As he sets down the cards on the table, he hears an eerie growl in the distance and then notices that one of the cards has a menacing image of a pouncing tiger represented as a King of Spades.
Claiborne assumes that he was just imagining things when he heard the growl, but then hears another one. Jumping up in alarm, he then sees Shere Khan charging and pouncing on him. Claiborne barely has time to scream before the tiger goes for his neck.
In the ensuing chaos, Colonel Brydon informed Dr. Julius Plumford of the tiger and that it attacked Claiborne. Plumford then went to attend to Claiborne, but the man was already dead.
- Rick Glassey, who portrayed Sergeant Claiborne, was also one of the animal trainers employed during the film's making.
- Ironically, the tiger-themed King of Spades card somewhat foreshadowed Claiborne's oncoming death.