Based on the novel by Vicente Blasco Ibañez, two wealthy daughters marry a German and Frenchman and return to Europe, where their sons become involved in the Great War.
The Spaniard Madariaga the Centaur (Pomeroy Cannon) has a large ranch in Argentina. His daughters are married to Marcelo Desnoyers and Karl von Hartrott. His grandson Julio Desnoyers is born.
Twenty years later Julio Desnoyers (Rudolph Valentino) takes a woman from a man and dances with her. Julio helps Madariaga go home. Karl von Hartrott (Alan Hale) raises three sons to love Germany. Julio finds Madariaga dead. His will divides his fortune between his daughters Luisa Desnoyers (Bridgetta Clark) and Elena von Hartrott (Mabel Van Buren). Karl plans to sell his share and take his sons to Germany. Marcelo Desnoyers (Joseph Swickard) fled from the draft in France but will risk going back.
Marcelo buys things in Paris. His daughter Chichi (Virginia Warwick) complains that Julio does not have enough money. Julio paints, and his secretary Argensola (Bowditch M. Turner) says he must pay his bills. Marcelo shows Senator Lacour (Mark Fenton) and Réné Lacour (Derek Ghent) his treasures. Réné courts Chichi. Julio asks his mother Luisa for money. She says no but gives him her necklace. Julio meets Marguerite Laurier (Alice Terry).
Karl visits Marcelo's castle. Julio tangos with Marguerite, and people gossip. So she comes to his studio. She tells Julio that she does not love her husband Etienne Laurier (John St. Polis). Julio and Marguerite kiss passionately.
Nations move toward war. Etienne asks Marcelo to take him to Julio's studio. Marguerite hides, but Etienne finds her and challenges Julio to a duel. Marguerite faints. Marcelo asks him to avoid a scandal, and Etienne decides to divorce her.
France mobilizes, and Etienne and Réné march off. Julio finds Argensola drinking with Tchernoff (Nigel De Brulier), who talks of John's Revelation. The four horsemen are Conquest, War, Pestilence, and Death. Marguerite joins the Red Cross.
Marcelo goes to his castle as refugees are leaving. The town is attacked and occupied by the German army. A firing squad shoots several who resisted. Captain Otto von Hartrott (Stuart Holmes) sees Marcelo and restrains him. At Lourdes nurses care for the wounded, and Julio finds Marguerite. She says Etienne is blind, and she will stay with him. Julio decides to fight for France.
German officers revel in the castle. When Marcelo sees a woman carried off, a servant shoots the officer and is killed. The next day the Germans leave. Marcelo sees his castle blasted. When he awakes, the French are in control.
Marcelo goes back to Paris. Julio in uniform embraces his father and mother. Chichi says that Réné is going to the front. American troops arrive. Marcelo visits Julio. Marguerite tries to atone by taking care of Etienne. She leaves a note that she is going back to Julio. Between the trenches in no man's land Julio comes upon his cousin in the rain. Marguerite sees Julio's spirit and decides to stay with Etienne.
Karl and Elena learn that all three of their sons are dead. Julio's parents visit his grave, and Réné has lost an arm. Tchernoff tells Marcelo that he knows them all. He says that war will ravage until hatred is dead, and love reigns.
This drama portrays the patriotism and courageous dedication
to fighting that lead to destruction and deaths in war.