Everything changes when Hattie Tamblyn's much-adored older brother, Will, enlists in the Canadian army in 1916 and is sent to fight in France. In Will's absence, Hattie's father hires a young conscientious objector, David Ross, to work on the farm, who questions the narrow notion of patriotism that has overtaken the country. His appearance at the Tamblyn farm enrages Hattie and Johnny, who, like most of their neighbors, believe all conchies are cowards. As more and more of her childhood friends are maimed and killed overseas, Hattie fears for Will's safety. But when her own safety is threatened, it is David who protects her, putting himself squarely in harm's way.