In 1917, the United States joined World War I, three years after it had started in Europe. The war led to a loss of over nine million lives. American youths enlisted in the Lafayette Escadrille squadron and traveled to France for combat and flight instruction. They encountered formidable German enemies with superior aircraft, weapons, and more skilled aviators. The average lifespan of pilots was merely three to six weeks. In the movie, Blaine Rawlings, one of the central characters, felt compelled to abandon his Texas residence due to his family ranch’s foreclosure.
Eugene Skinner, an African American professional boxer residing in France, made the decision to give back and join a cause. Briggs Lowry, unable to do anything successfully, is compelled by his father to join, although he adamantly refuses to share a room with the African American. William Jensen comes from a lineage of military members within his family, while Eddie Beagle is on the run for a crime he committed by using a toy gun. Following the death of their leader Cassidy, Rawlings steps up and assumes the leadership role, making efforts to save and assist his squadron.
Despite a flight breakdown, William Jensen remained a pilot during the war. In contrast, Eugene Skinner, an African American, joined the U.S. forces but was unable to fly; nevertheless, he later became one of the earliest aviators in the U.S. Airmail service. Eddie Beagle, who married a French woman, started his own aerial show. Conversely, Blaine Rawlings ventured to Paris in search of Lucienne, his love interest from France; unfortunately, he was unsuccessful and eventually returned to Texas where he established one of the largest ranches and retired from flying. It is important to note that this account is based on true events!