The drama unfolds with a US patrolling team deep inside Vietnam fighting an exhaustive gorilla war with Viet Cong squads. Sergeant Tony Meserve (Sean Penn), who heads the patrol, kidnaps a teen aged woman from a village, considered an ally to Viet Cong.
Than Thi Oanh (Thuy Thu Le), the Vietnamese woman grew ill and developed a persistent cough. When the squad was Onah was constantly coughing exposing them to the risk of getting caught.
Deepely hurt emotionally Erikson refuses to let the secret die. He reports of the incident to seniors and was not taken seriously. Eventually, following an attempt on Eriksson's life by the squad, the four men who raped and killed Onah were court martialed.
In the final scene Erikson wakes up from a nightmare he was having of the incident only to find himself on a Metro train in San Francisco. He suddenly saw a Vietnamese-American student (also played by Thuy Thu Le) who resembles the kidnapped girl.