Gabrielle Picard (Elda Hall) and Pierre Dupont (Rupert Julian) are lovers in a small French village in the early 1870s; Gabrielle's brother Anatole (Kingsley Benedict) is Pierre's best friend. The two young men are called to service by their country and go to Algiers. Anatole becomes the bugler and one day when he is commanded to sound the retreat, he sounds for the troops to charge instead. Anatole becomes a hero because of his action, but when the two men make their victorious return home, they find the Picard home ransacked and Gabrielle gone. They swear to spend their lives in search of the girl, but decades pass and they never find her. Finally when the men have reached their seventies, the French government sends word to Anatole that he is being decorated for his actions so many years earlier and he is invited to attend a luncheon in his honor. He and Pierre walk to Paris, but on the fifth day Anatole dies of exhaustion. Pierre continues on, determined to impersonate Anatole so that his friend receives the proper recognition. When he gets to Paris, he discovers that the committee has found Gabrielle. She recognizes Pierre, but she keeps quiet until after the ceremony. Then she asks where her brother is, and Pierre takes her to Anatole's dead body, and pins the medal on his breast. The film ends with the elderly couple in a clinch.
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