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During World War II there were fifty thousand prisoners of war in The United States of America. On the eighth of September 1943 the King of Italy declared the signed armistice with the Allied Forces. As a result the American administration asked the Italian prisoners to accept the King’s decision. Those who refused were detained at the Hereford Internment Camp in Texas.
Luigi Manin (Luca Zingaretti) is one of fifty thousand Italian prisoners of war in the United States of America who, six months after the end of the conflict, is still held at the Hereford Camp in Texas; after numerous attempts at escaping he manages to pass a few days outside the camp, but when he is brought back to the camp by a patrol force the camp has already been evacuated.
The camp’s commanding colonel, Gartner (Roy Scheider), is the only person left at the camp and is obbliged to hold the prisoner until another patrol force comes to collect him. Nobody arrives. The telephone lines have been cut and the only form of transport available doesn’t work.
The only option left for Gartner and Manin is a mad and violent final confrontation.