Two friends love the same girl and become ace pilots in the world war, but another girl is in love with one of them.
In 1917 Jack Powell (Buddy Rogers) works on his car, and Mary Preston (Clara Bow) helps him paint it. Wealthy David Armstrong (Richard Arlen) is visiting Sylvia Lewis (Jobyna Ralston). Jack gives Sylvia the first ride. Sylvia writes to David on her photo; but when Jack sees the locket, she gives it to him. She tells David she felt sorry for Jack. Mary gives her photo to Jack, who lets her use his car while he is gone. David says goodbye to his mother (Julia Swayne Gordon) and father (Henry B. Walthall).
Jack, David, and Herman Schwimpf (El Brendel) enroll in ground training for pilots. Jack and David get into a fight. In air school they meet White (Gary Cooper), who is killed in a practice flight.
Overseas Jack and David fly in a dawn patrol and fight German planes. Count Kellerman attacks David. Jack's motor is hit, and he has to land. Jack finds a British trench. Mary drives a truck with medical supplies. Jack and David are sent after a German bomber. Mary sees the bombs explode. David shoots down a battle-plane, and Jack destroys the bomber. They get leave in Paris.
Mary learns that their leaves are cancelled. She sees Jack drinking with a pretty girl. A woman gives Mary a dancer's dress, and she gets Jack away from the girl. Jack is drunk, and Mary puts him to bed. She finds the locket and sees Sylvia's photo. Mary is changing when the MPs come in and assume she is guilty.
David becomes fatalistic and asks Jack to take care of things for him. Jack learns that Mary went home. Jack tells David that he loves Sylvia and shows him the locket. David sees his name on the back of the photo and tears it up so that Jack won't see it. David takes on four planes to protect Jack and shoots down two. Jack destroys two balloons. David is hit and crash-lands by a river. He is shot at and hides. A German plane drops a note that the pilot was shot.
In the big push many planes take off, but Jack goes alone to the river and shoots German soldiers on a bridge and a road. David comes to an airfield and steals a German plane. He shoots a German plane. The Germans are retreating. Jack sees David's German plane and shoots at it. David crashes into a house. Jack sees that the dying pilot is David, who does not blame him. Jack finds Sylvia's letter to David and learns she loves David.
Jack is welcomed home as a hero. He goes to see David's mother and father. Jack finds his car and Mary. He admits he had a girl in Paris. Jack realizes he loves Mary and kisses her.
This war drama emphasizes the value of friendship despite
the killing and destruction. The technology of film is showing
how the technology of aircraft is changing the nature of wars.