Legendary director Howard Hawks' moody melodrama is a story of trench life during World War I focusing on the lives of a French regiment. As life is being wasted all around him, Captain La Roche (Warner Baxter) becomes more and more sombre. He gives each fresh wave of replacements the same hollow speech about the proud traditions of the regiment, then sends them out to be slaughtered by the Germans. He lives almost exclusively on a diet of cognac and aspirin. His love rival for the affections of a pretty nurse is the idealistic and carefree junior officer (Fredric March). Into the regiment comes Private Moran, a grizzled army veteran, who also happens to be La Roche's father.