James Cagney and Dan Dailey play a feuding officer and sergeant in WWI France, both trying to win the affections of the same girl. Originally intended as a musical (which accounts for the bright sets), but transformed into a drama/comedy by director John Ford. Captain Flagg (Cagney), the cynical, hard-drinking commander of a company of Marines, returns from the First World War trenches to the French border town of Bar-le-Duc and to the arms of his lover Charmaine (Corinne Calvet), the daughter of a local innkeeper. He is intent on having fun before returning to the front with the next batch of recruits. Little does he know that his new Top Sergeant is Quirt (Dailey), Flagg's arch enemy in love, and sparring partner across the occupied territories. Charmaine soon takes a shine to Quirt and when he and Flagg are called back up to the front, their battle of wits soon becomes a race to return and capture Charmaine's heart.