In 1965, during a bombing mission in North Vietnam, U.S. Naval Cmdr. Jeremiah A. Denton (Hal Holbrook) is shot down and detained in a Viet Cong prisoner-of-war camp. Spending the next seven years of his life in subhuman conditions, Denton endures constant torture at the hands of his captors, but somehow manages to stay alive. Meanwhile, in the United States, Denton's wife, Jane (Eva Marie Saint), organizes an advocacy group consisting of wives of POWs.