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During the final critical months of World War II, Colonel Alois Podhajsky, the director of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, is denied permission by General Stryker to evacuate the school's prized Lipizzan horses, endangered by the bombardment of the city. Desperate, he enlists the aid of General Tellheim, a sympathetic German who permits Podhajsky and his chief rider, Otto, to smuggle the white stallions to the safety of an old castle belonging to the Countess Arco-Valley. However, the mares had earlier been transferred to Czechoslovakia, and Podhajsky is now faced with the possibility of the rare breed becoming extinct. When an American advance guard arrives at the castle, Podhajsky stages a performance in order to persuade General Patton to include the Lipizzan mares as part of the Allied prisoner liberation program, and the Spanish Riding School becomes officially protected by the United States Army. Under the command of Colonel Reed, the Lipizzan mares are rounded up from Czechoslovakia before the arrival of the Russian force and returned to Podhajsky, thus insuring the continuation of the breed. Ten years later, on the 212th anniversary of the Riding Hall, the Lipizzans are once more performing at the Imperial Court in Vienna.