powered by AFI
During the Korean War, the American Air Force conducts a crucial test of a long-distance radio transmitting and tracking device, designed by scientist Dean Olmstead. Olmstead's test is successful, but when the plane carrying Olmstead crosses into North Korea, its jet fighter escort is unable to prevent an attack by the North Koreans and Olmstead's bomber is shot down. Back at the air base, the leader of the jet fighters, Capt. Tom Arnett, reports to Col. Catlett, who laments Olmstead's loss, as the scientist left no documentation on his radio transmitter. Later that night, Lt. Bill Clairborn finds a drunken Tom and his flying partner, Lt. Sandy Wilkerson, at a local bar and takes them back to the base. There Catlett questions Tom about his friendship with Russian nurse Tanya Nikova. Tom explains that Tanya, a White Russian and protégé of famous Russian physician Col. Kuban, saved his life when he was shot down over Korea early in the war. Catlett then reveals that Army intelligence believes that Olmstead may have survived the crash and orders Tom and Bill to parachute into the enemy zone and contact Tanya to find out if Olmstead is alive. Tom and Bill depart immediately with radioman Chick Lane and upon landing, are attacked by North Korean forces until they are rescued by a South Korean guerrilla outfit led by Capt. Chon. Chon takes Tom and Bill to his hideout where Tom reunites with Tanya, who has been working as a spy for the guerrillas. Chon tells Tom that although Olmstead's plane was not completely destroyed in the crash, it was surrounded by North Koreans before the guerrillas could examine it. Tanya adds that if Olmstead suffered serious injuries, there would be a medical report at Col. Kuban's office. In a private moment, Tom and Tanya, who were romantically involved in the past, wonder if they will both survive the war to share a future together. Later, Tom rejects Bill's suspicion of Tanya's loyalties. The next day, after Tanya rummages through Col. Kuban's medical records she is questioned by Maj. Wan, a North Korean security chief. Tanya tells Tom that although there was no evidence in the records that Olmstead is in any of the camp hospitals, she will accompany Kuban on his rounds of the camps the following day to be sure. Bill believes Tanya is stalling in order that Olmstead can be relocated, but Tom discounts the idea. The following morning, while Tanya tours the area camp hospitals with Kuban, Tom and Bill secretly visit a prisoners' camp to ask if any new prisoners meeting Olmstead's description have arrived. When none are reported, Bill suggests they have fulfilled their mission and should return to their landing site for retrieval, but Tom insists they hear Tanya's results first. Meanwhile, at the next-to-the-last camp hospital on Kuban's rounds, Tanya and Kuban are puzzled by a patient segregated from the others. Upon inquiring, they learn that the patient is an older American survivor of a recent plane crash. Kuban examines the patient, unaware that the man is Olmstead. When Kuban decides to report back to Wan, Tanya, who has recognized the man as Olmstead, promises she will finish Kuban's rounds, but instead hastens to inform Tom. Bill continues to believe Tanya is setting a trap and demands they contact headquarters before taking further action. Tom locates Chick, who reports that the radio was damaged during the attack after the landing. Tom then decides to pose as a Russian officer and accompany Tanya to the camp hospital to rescue Olmstead. When Chon warns that Tom will be executed as a spy if caught, Bill reluctantly accompanies Chick and Chon to provide protection. At the Korean camp, Kuban reports to Wan, who grows suspicious that the three American paratroopers may have been a rescue party sent for Olmstead. Wan then reveals he has investigated Tanya and believes she may be a traitor. Skeptical, Kuban telephones the outlying hospital to search for Tanya but is dismayed when he is told she did not stop there as promised. Wan then orders a security unit to the camp hospital housing Olmstead. After Tanya gets Tom through hospital security by declaring that he is a specialist, once inside, she examines Olmstead and learns that he is suffering from a concussion but is otherwise well. Knowing that they cannot escape with the injured man, Tanya risks giving him an injection that simulates death. Meanwhile, Chon, Chick and the guerillas intercept Wan's forces and engage them in order to give Tanya, Tom and Olmstead time to escape. In the skirmish Chon and several guerrillas are killed, and Chick is captured and beaten for information. Back at the guerillas' hideout, Olmstead revives and recognizes Tom. Frustrated by Chick's defiant refusal to divulge information, Wan concludes that Olmstead and his rescuers will likely be picked up where they were dropped. Back at the American base, Sandy takes off in a rescue helicopter and upon arriving at the meeting point barely escapes an attack by Wan's men. After Tom, Bill and Olmstead arrive at the meeting site, Tom rescues Sandy, but Bill is killed. Tanya arrives in her car to help Tom escape, but is seriously wounded as they speed away. Tanya manages to drive the men to the nearby Russian airfield, but collapses shortly thereafter and dies. When Sandy spots two MIG Russian jets prepped for takeoff, he and Tom overpower the pilots and sieze their plane. As Wan and his unit arrive and begin firing, the American pilots take off, winging Olmstead to safety.