The four-time Oscar winning director Robert Wise is best known for The Sound of Music, The Magnificent Ambersons and West Side Story. Here, he turns his attention to World War II. Richard Widmark accompanies a group of US military meteorologists, sent to Inner Mongolia during World War II, serving as a weather station monitoring conditions for the Navy. When their commanding officer is killed during a Japanese attack, Chief Petty Officer Sam McHale (Widmark) takes the reins and leads the men on an 800-mile trek in the intense arid Gobi Desert to safety. When their convoy comes under attack from the Japanese, they are forced to seek the help of a group of Mongol tribesmen.