A holding masculine story in an impressive account of a cavalry troop's actions during the retreat to Bataan during December, 1941, as they cover with delaying manoeuvres the fleeing military and civilian masses. Under Captain Kilbride, ignorant of his own ability and wondering about his inexperienced men, the troop meets its first engagement successfully and shakes down into a hard riding, able and unorthodox unit, with blowing up bridges, destroying tanks, foraging for food and managing to contact HQ. They are forced to take young Alex, whose father has been killed, with them, but she, understanding their urgency as the enemy grows dangerously nearer, makes her own way south, finding a job in driving an ambulance. She and Kilbride meet twice again, discover their love, and enjoy it for the little time they have. The troop is gradually decimated but the need for it grows greater and they meet their last engagement -- reconnaissance for a Filipine division at Moron -- with incomplete and weary ranks, and a letdown that permits them to be trapped, victims of the Japs. Another angle on those early ""expendables"", bristling with military detail, but the small group focus, the individualizing of the members of the troop, the importance of the job they did, makes this convincing reading.