Spring 1952. The Korean War: the second year. Peace talks have started and stalled. The battlefront is unstable and active. Fierce fighting continues between UN and communist forces for tiny pieces of ground in strategic locations along possible attack routes for the massive armies if, and when, they decide to start up again. A U.S. Army rifle company is in reserve licking its wounds after a near-devastating defeat at Iron Mountain. It must get well and prepare for further effort against unremitting pressure from the Chinese Volunteers. Even in this recovery mode there is some down time available, during which the occasionally profound, often lunatic, aspects of infantry life spark up and are played out. A five-day rest period in Japan for the only two officers of the company scores some pleasant relaxation on the shores of Lake Hakone. But it also ends up in a murder in a Tokyo alley. The following army investigation leads back to Korea where the company is fighting for its life in a three part battle on Monastery Ridge which ultimately affects, in different ways, the company's principal players.