Taking command of Marines who survived an enemy ambush in Korea, Sgt. Towler (Sidney Poitier) inherits a squad that includes Kincaid (Alan Ladd), a professional soldier recently demoted from sergeant; Cotton (James Darren), a sentimental youngster; Wade (Glenn Corbett), a medical corpsman; a would-be writer named Crane (Mort Sahl), and the muscular Swede, Torgil (Ingemar Johansson). At a strategically positioned farmhouse they have been ordered to hold, Towler and his men find a Korean woman with her attractive Eurasian daughter, Maya (Ana St. Clair), and Maya's young son. Though Towler's authority is resented by some, including Kincaid, the pair teams up to destroy an enemy tank -- an operation that that ends with Kincaid's leg being crushed and leaves Towler as the only available blood donor for an emergency amputation. And when Towler orders his men back into the line of enemy fire, he and Kincaid must remain behind to valiantly fight a triumphant rear guard action.
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