When the U.S. Embassy in Yemen is surrounded by a large crowd of demonstrators, Col. Terry Childers, USMC, is ordered to lead a squadron of Marines to bolster security at the embassy. He has orders to evacuate the ambassador and his family if the situation turns violent. A few short hours after Childers launches his mission, the ambassador's safety is secured, but three of Childers' men are dead, along with more than the 80 Yemeni men, women and children killed by Marine gunfire. Childers now faces a court-martial for violating the rules of engagement by killing unarmed civilians. He denies the charge, contending the protesters were armed and had opened fire on the Embassy. But it appears that the government has made the colonel the fall guy for an ugly diplomatic crisis: the men who could have testified on his behalf have been killed in action, one of the witnesses seems to be lying, and the President's National Security Adviser destroys evidence that might help Childers' case. Childers refuses to go down quietly and turns to his longtime friend, Hays Hodges, to defend him.