General Yang (Akim Tamiroff) is a politically ambitious Chinese bandit who holds the Northern districts in a grip of terror. Yang is opposed by O'Hara (Gary Cooper), an American mercenary who fights on behalf of the peasants. When he is entrusted with a large sum of money to buy guns, O'Hara becomes the target of Yang and his minions. Betrayed by a cowardly Caucasian (Porter Hall), O'Hara nonetheless falls in love with his betrayer's daughter Judy (Madeline Carroll). Yang captures both O'Hara and Judy and spirits them away on his junk, where the General intends to torture O'Hara so as to find out where the money is. A bizarre and gloomy ending caps this atmospheric thriller, adapted from Charles G. Booth's best-selling novel by Clifford Odets--who, along with director Lewis Milestone, novelist John O'Hara and Hollywood columnist Sidney Skolsky, appears as an extra in one scene.
by Hal Erickson synopsis