When Will McLean arrives for his final year of study at The Carolina Military Institute in 1964, little does he know the challenge that will be presented to him. The Institute has decided to take the milestone step of allowing an African-American student to enroll at the school for the first time in his long history. And administrators want senior private Will McLean to serve as his guardian angel, watching over him to ensure that no incidents of racism develop.
But private McLean soon learns that there is a secret brotherhood in existence on the campus known as The Ten. The Ten have made it their mission to have Pearce, the newly enrolled black student, leave before his first year at the Military Institute has been completed. Although this racist group of students contend they want Pearce to leave of his own accord, they seem willing to resort to torture in order to achieve their goal. And it is Private McLean's duty to keep Pearce safe and in school, even if it means endangering his own military career aspirations.