Frank "Spig" Wead (John Wayne) is a pilot trying to improve the Navy's aviation program. His military posts often require him to move his wife (Maureen O'Hara) and children. On the night he decides to spend more time with his family, Spig falls down the stairs and breaks his back. During his recovery, buddy "Jughead" Carson (Dan Dailey) convinces Spig to start writing pro-military films. Although he is successful, the Pearl Harbor bombing moves Spig to rejoin the Navy despite his paralysis.