U.S. Navy pilot Frank ‘Spig’ Wead (John Wayne) is a fun-loving and rowdy adventurer, but also a fierce proponent of Naval aviation. His dedication to the promotion of the Navy’s flying program is so intense that his marriage to Min (Maureen O’Hara) and family life suffer.
Between spectacular aerial hi-jinks and rollicking brawls with an equally bullish army rival (Kenneth Tobey), Spig hits on a promotional idea for a round the world race. He ends up winning the prestigious ‘Schneider Cup’ but, wracked with guilt for neglecting his family, returns home to the loving Min.
One fateful night Spig awakens to the sound of his daughter’s cries. Having already lost one child to illness he rushes to his daughter’s aid only to fall down the stairs, breaking his back and sustaining a crippling spinal injury.
During his slow, agonising recovery from paralysis – aided by cigar-chomping navy pal ‘Jughead’ Carson (Dan Dailey) – Spig finds a new means of expressing his love of flying: screenwriting.
Successful and acclaimed, he finds the U.S. entry into World War II to be an irresistible call. Pleading that he be reinstated in the Navy despite his paralysis, Spig finds he has an enormous contribution yet to make as his experience and ingenuity prove invaluable throughout the war and eventually land him command of his own ship.
Frank W. ‘Spig’ Wead
John Dale Price
Capt. Herbert Allen Hazard
Capt. Jock Clark