Set right near the 38th Parallel, the dividing line between North and South Korea, this conventional wartime tale focuses on the relationships of some Gl's caught without reinforcements in an old farmhouse. Although the house offers some protection, the men are outnumbered and little by little, casualties mount. After the lieutenant dies, black Sergeant Towler (Sidney Poitier) automatically assumes command, and that causes friction among the white soldiers underneath him. Knowing that racial tension can do much more damage than normal under these siege conditions, Sergeant Towler finally defuses the situation when his nemesis, Kincaid (Alan Ladd) is wounded. Kincaid gets a life-saving transfusion from the Sergeant which also shows up the stupidity of racial hatred - but meanwhile, the enemy is still attacking and reinforcements are still needed.