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In Leningrad in 1941, columns of infantry men and truckloads of soldiers stream into the streets, readying to defend the city against the Nazis. When Red Cross headquarters calls all volunteer nurses to duty, a group of twenty girls reports to receive uniforms and equipment. Among the group is Natasha, their leader; Tamara, a former dancer; and Chijik, their youngest member, a mere child. At the railroad station, Natasha bids goodbye to Sergei Korovin, her fiancé and a soldier in the Russian army. The next morning, the Red Cross trucks deliver the nurses to the battlefront, where the field doctor orders them to convert an old wooden mansion into a hospital. That evening, a transport of wounded soldiers arrives, bringing the nurses their first taste of the bloody realities of war. Later, when a Russian plane is downed by Messerschmidts near the hospital, John Hill, an American flyer who had been testing the aircraft, is brought to the facility. Although an operation saves John's life, his legs remain numb from the shock. Despondent, John blames himself for the death of the plane's pilot. Natasha cares for John day and night, and he slowly recovers the will to live and discovers that he has fallen in love with her. When the enemy nears the hospital area, an order to evacuate is given and the nurses carry the wounded to waiting ambulances. After enemy artillery destroys a section of the hospital and one of the ambulances, some of the patients are forced to wait behind until an new ambulance can be dispatched. Natasha volunteers to stay behind with John and several of the other wounded men, and they all take cover in a dugout. That night, John confides his dream of seeing his country again once the war ends. The next day, Natasha and the others are rescued and driven to another hospital far removed from the front. There John recovers and begins to walk again, and although Natasha has fallen in love with him, she goes without hesitation when a call comes from the front for five more nurses. Deciding to tell John about her fiancé before she leaves, Natasha approaches him but is stopped by a wounded soldier asking for water. When the soldier tells her that Sergei was killed in battle, Natasha, speechless, wanders away without speaking to John. Natasha performs bravely at the front, and when a blizzard strikes, she forms a ski patrol to reach the injured. After Natasha is wounded in battle, she is taken to a hospital in Leningrad. Soon after, John receives orders to return to the United States. Before leaving, he seeks out Natasha at the hospital and, without declaring his love, bids her farewell and assures her that they will meet again once victory over Germany is declared.