In Italy during World War II, a squad of American soldiers is scattered by sniper fire, leaving one soldier, Pvt. Small (George Cooper), trapped inside a foxhole. Pvt. Coke (Richard Kiley) reports back to camp and presses his commanding officer, Sgt. Joe Mooney (Lee Marvin), to dispatch a rescue team. But orders for the division to pull out of the area place the squad in the uncomfortable position of attempting the rescue at the risk of going against military protocol.