Captured in the African desert Battle of El Guettar, the German corporal Erich Keppler must survive POW camp in Texas. The Americans follow the Geneva Convention's rules, but the real danger is within the camp—Nazi, anti-Nazi, and neutral-minded POWs. Erich clings to his dream of working as a rocket engineer to sustain himself through his service to the homeland. Germany incurred punishing devastation during these years, and in 1945, Erich returns to an impoverished, starving country, where his dream has little hope of succeeding. Erich struggles with ideas of how to fit his life into postwar Germany. His family tags him as an outsider, enamored with life in America. Disgusted and despondent, he tenaciously pursues a life-changing opportunity and discovers he is not an outsider. He is free.