After his business partner embezzles funds, American Beau Graves (Guy Stockwell), innocent of the crime, takes the fall. To avoid capture, Graves joins the French Foreign Legion on a deployment to North Africa and is stationed at a desert fort. Commanders of the fort, Lt. De Ruse (Leslie Nielsen) and Sgt. Maj. Dagineau (Telly Savalas) have greatly different approaches -- Dagineau is known for his brutality. Eventually, Graves' brother (Doug McClure) joins him, but his plight only worsens.