When Carl Breckles joined the army to serve his mandatory two years, he takes an extra year on his enlistment to ensure he will serve in Europe and not Korea. During basic training at Ft. Riley, Kansas, Carl befriends Lasslett, a former air force enlistman who joined the army to support his new wife and child. The two buck against army regulations, but for different lifestyles, while servicing in the German town Bamberg, Germany. Lasslett goes to prison for disobeying orders after bringing his wife and child to Bamberg and going AWOL when the child becomes sick. Breckles is convinced he is sick while living a life of exceptions to military regulations but cannot convince the camp doctor of his malady. Lasslett dies in prison. Breckles gets admitted to an army hospital and is invalided home. While in Chicago a year later, Breckles is discharged from the hospital and the army and travels to Wisconsin to visit Lasslett's wife. He wants to help her when he meets her at her family farm but grows unsure at what to do.