Lt. Sharpe and his men are assigned to accompany Sir Henry Simmerson and his company of raw recruits
to a bridge near Talavera, Spain to seize a bridge and hold it until Hogan and his men arrive with explosives
to destroy it. Simmerson is a bad officer and believes the only way to gain respect from his men is through
the lash. He takes a dislike to Lt. Sharpe and encourages his officers to eliminate him. Then Simmerson makes a bad military decision during a battle over the bridge which gets a fine officer killed, loses the King's colors to the enemy and leaves Sharpe to fulfill the dying man's request to regain the company's honor by capturing one of Napoleon's eagle standards.