During World War II, Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle leads the U.S. Air Force in a bombing mission over Japan. Doolittle and his men stage a successful attack on Tokyo, but most pilots run out of fuel while returning from the raid. Many are forced to land on Japanese soil, but Capt. Ted Lawson, who has a pregnant wife at home, crash-lands in the sea off the coast of China. Stranded, Lawson must heroically endure a series of harrowing challenges to make it back home.