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In 1956 Fidel Castro and a band of 82 rebel fighters land on the Cuban coast and begin waging guerrilla warfare against the military forces of President Batista. Included among the rebels is Ernesto "Che" Guevara, a young Argentine doctor who, despite periodic asthma attacks, soon proves his mettle as a guerrilla fighter. As additional volunteers join the small army, Che assumes leadership of a patrol, delegating the medical supervision to nurse Anita Marquez, and proves himself to be such a brilliant tactician in jungle fighting, as well as a stern disciplinarian, that Castro makes him his chief advisor. When the guerrillas, after 2 years of fighting, finally defeat Batista's troops and march triumphantly into Havana, Che directs the massive reprisals, explaining to Castro that he is preventing a larger bloodbath by taking vengeance out of the hands of the people. Before long, Che becomes bored with directing affairs of state and dreams of starting another revolution encompassing all of South America. In 1962, when Castro backs down during the U. S.-Russian missile crisis, Che accuses the dictator of being a puppet of the Soviet Union, and 3 years later, despite Castro's pleadings, Che leaves Cuba. Traveling incognito to Bolivia, Che joins forces with another revolutionary, Tania, and begins a new guerrilla campaign. But the movement fails to win popular support from the peasants, and Che's starving troops are forced to steal food from the same people they are trying to liberate. They are eventually caught in an ambush by a Bolivian Army patrol; Tania is killed, Che is wounded and captured, and the revolution goes down in defeat. Che is taken to a village schoolhouse, and there an army officer confronts him with an old peasant who says that all the people really want is to be left alone. Then, without a trial, Che is shot to death on October 9, 1967. The next day his corpse is shown to the press along with reports that Che Guevara was killed in a battle between his guerrillas and Bolivian Army rangers.