North Vietnam, 1965, a French Army platoon is ambushed by the North Vietnamese Army and all French troops are killed, weapons stolen and supplies taken. In the United States, Colonel Hal Moore, a seasoned United States Army Airborne veteran of Korea, well trained and a graduate of Harvard University, is called to lead the 1st Air Cavalry Division at in the first battle between the US Army and North Vietnamese Army. Moore trains his troops, finding that a young Second Lieutenant was his favored soldier in the platoon as he is a fine leader and a very respected soldier. They are sent then to South Vietnam, forcing Moore to say goodbye to his wife and children. They arrive and are sent to North Vietnam to attack a force of 2,000 troops that escaped into a mountain, however only given his own force of 450 soldiers. Moore meets US Army Air Force pilots "Snake Shit" and "Too Tall". The troops are sent out with Sergeant Major Plumly, a decorated US Army 82nd Airborne veteran of Korea and WWII. They arrive and while patrolling the woods find North Vietnamese scouts leading the troops into a trap.