Pete Barre is young, intelligent, and idealistic-a bad combination of traits for a person serving in the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam. Unable to sit back while lies are being told, he bucks the system and it bucks back. He is assigned hazardous duties without the support any soldier might expect. Scrambling to survive, he finds Dana Cohen, a doctor at a Catholic Hospital in Laos. She provides a lifeline, enabling him to endure the pressures placed on him by his countrymen. Her closeness to him is seen as a problem by the Americans, and her aid is cut off. With no place to go, help comes from an unlikely source. A French opium dealer, a remnant of the First Indochina war, intercedes in their behalf. Pete and Dana escape to become persons without a country.