Tony Curtis stars as a hero of Iwo Jima struggling with the pain of survival. A shy 17-year-old Pima Indian, Ira Hamilton Hayes, shocks his parents when he enlists in the army during World War II. While most of his white companions ignore him, Ira strikes up a deep and lasting friendship with another marine, Jim Sorenson. In February 1945 the two buddies are among the five marines who raise the U. S. flag on Mt. Suribachi during the bloody fighting at Iwo Jima.