The screenplay was written by Sam Peckinpah and is another retelling of Custer's Last Stand, although the names and places have been changed. Captain Harrod is in charge of getting new recruits of the Third Cavalry in to shape, so they can fight the Sioux at Fort Doniphan. James Caan played loud-mouthed Irish recruit, Anthony Dugan. General McCabe wants to destroy the Indians.
Captain Harrod blames General McCabe for an earlier incident where he allowed some men to be slaughtered by Apaches, so that he could come in and get the victory. Sol Rogers is the chief of scouts, and also recognizes General McCabe's obsession. He and Captain Harrod are rivals for Lou Woddard. When they first meet they have a fist fight but they come to respect each other.
When the troops go out on a patrol they go without weapons. When the Sioux attack, they knock the troops off their horses but son't kill them. It was really a training exercise that had Rogers led troopers dressed as Indians to attack the recruits.
The army arranges to have a concerted effort to attack the Sioux. The different generals are to come in from different directions and then meet at certain times. General McCabe pushes his men hard. He is determined to get the glory. McCabe wants to get to the rendezvous a day early, not waiting for the other troops. McCabe tells Captain Harrod to chase a group of Indians that are fleeing to the north. The Sioux attack but McCabe doesn't come in support. McCabe instead attacks the main force. Most of Harrod's men get wiped out, and Rogers gets killed too.
When Harrod rides out the next day they come upon a massacre, it is General McCabe and his men. General Hoffman then arrives with his troops at the appointed time. McCabe fell victim to his own greed for glory.
The Indians did not play a big part in this movie, even though they were the main focus of it. But it was a retelling of Custer's last Stand, much in the way of John Ford's Fort Apache. It just wasn't as good. It is nice to see the Indians win once in a while though.