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After the United States enters World War I, Nancy Adams becomes a Red Cross nurse, while her fiancé, Rex "Rocky" Thorne, pursues his sculpting career. Disappointed by Rocky's refusal to enlist, Nancy mocks his pacifist attitudes and accuses him of cowardice. Rocky, abandoned by Nancy, joins the army and trains as an aviator, determined to prove his bravery. Although he is at first hesitant about firing his machine gun during combat, Rocky "learns" how to kill as soon as he is shot at by his German foe. Filled with the thrill of victory, he vows to become the most successful aviator in the war, completely forgetting his pacifist scruples. In his specially equipped plane, he risks his life to gun down German after German, finally breaking the record for the most kills. While on furlough in Paris, Rocky runs into Nancy, whose own war experiences have soured her naive patriotism. Torn by guilt, Nancy agrees to spend the night with the highly decorated Rocky, while mourning the loss of the "gentle" Rocky she deserted. Soon after, Rocky shoots down an innocent German cadet and suffers a head wound, which lands him in the hosptial. Lying in the bed next to him is the German cadet, whose cries of suffering rack Rocky's conscience. Upon his release, Rocky is asked to give up combat to teach at a training school. Before leaving his squadron, however, Rocky, egged on by his peers, takes off on an unauthorized "last" mission. Surrounded by German planes, he prepares to kill, but as his hand reaches for his machine gun, he has a vision of the German cadet and is unable to fire. In the fight, Rocky is wounded and crashes, but lives to return home and marry Nancy.