In war, justice is often the first casualty.
In the midst of World War I, Colonel Dax leads his soldiers into a vicious battle against the German army. They are tasked with capturing an enemy stronghold, but things quickly spiral out of control, and the mission ends in failure. Many soldiers lose their lives, and Dax is left to face the consequences of his actions. He is devastated by the loss and vows to do whatever it takes to ensure that his men did not die in vain.
The Failed Offensive
The air was thick with the sound of gunfire and the cries of wounded soldiers. Colonel Dax could see his men falling all around him, their blood staining the ground. He had led them into battle, thinking that victory was within their grasp, but he had been wrong. The Germans had been better prepared, better equipped, and better trained.
Dax watched in horror as the enemy forces advanced, their weapons firing mercilessly. He could feel his own heart pounding in his chest as he searched for a way out. But there was no escape. They were surrounded, and there was nowhere to run.
Suddenly, a mine exploded, sending a shockwave through the ground. Dax felt his body lifted off the ground, and he tumbled through the air, hitting the hard earth with a sickening thud. He struggled to get up, but his body was heavy and uncooperative. He could hear the sounds of battle continuing around him, but he couldn’t see anything. His vision was blurred, and his ears were ringing.
He lay there, barely conscious, for what felt like an eternity. Then, gradually, his senses began to return. He could hear the sound of gunfire growing fainter, and he realized that the Germans were retreating. He lifted his head and looked around. The battlefield was strewn with bodies, both French and German. The air was thick with smoke and the stench of death.
Dax struggled to his feet, his body aching with pain. He searched for his men, hoping to find some survivors, but they were nowhere to be seen. He was alone, surrounded by death and destruction.
As he walked through the battlefield, Dax’s mind was filled with thoughts of his men. He knew that their families would be devastated by their loss, and he was filled with guilt for having led them into such a hopeless situation. He vowed to do whatever it takes to ensure that their sacrifice was not in vain.
Days later, he received the news that he had been dreading. The top brass had blamed him and his men for the failed offensive. They claimed that he had acted recklessly and that his men had been cowards. Dax was outraged by the accusations and vowed to fight them with everything he had.
He soon learned that three of his soldiers had been singled out as scapegoats for the failed offensive. Corporal Paris, Private Arnaud, and Private Ferol were facing charges of cowardice and treachery. Dax knew that they were innocent and vowed to defend them at all costs.
As the trial approached, Dax prepared his case meticulously. He poured through records and evidence and interviewed witnesses. He knew that the prosecution was using deceitful tactics to paint his clients as guilty so that they could cover up their own incompetence and failures.
The trial was long and grueling, and Dax fought tooth and nail for his clients’ innocence. He was relentless in his pursuit of justice and refused to back down even when the odds were against him.
In the end, the verdict was announced. The scapegoats were found guilty and sentenced to death. Dax was heartbroken but refused to give up. He knew that justice had not been served, and he vowed to seek revenge against the top brass who had orchestrated the wrongful conviction.
As he sat alone in his office, Dax made a plan. He would lead his men into a dangerous mission to capture the enemy stronghold that had eluded them during their failed offensive. It was a risky move, but he knew it was the only way to prove their worth and redeem themselves for their earlier failure.
Dax was willing to do whatever it took to make things right, even if it meant putting his own life on the line. He had lost too many men already and was not willing to let their sacrifice be in vain. He would fight to the bitter end, even if it meant his own death. The stakes were high, but he was determined to emerge victorious.
Chapter 2: The Trial
The courtroom was filled with tension as the three accused soldiers, Corporal Paris, Private Arnaud, and Private Ferol, were brought in. They looked scared and confused, unsure of what was about to happen to them.
Colonel Dax, their defender, stood tall and confident, ready to take on the prosecution. He knew that this trial was a sham, and his clients were being used as scapegoats for the top brass’s failures.
The prosecutor, General Mireau, entered the room with an air of superiority. He looked down his nose at the accused soldiers and their defender, confident that he would win the case.
The trial began, and the prosecution wasted no time in presenting its case. They called witnesses who testified that they saw the accused soldiers running away from the battlefield, leaving their comrades behind to die.
The courtroom was filled with gasps and murmurs as the witnesses spoke. The accused soldiers looked more and more guilty with each passing moment.
Dax knew that something was not right. He could feel it in his bones. He knew that these soldiers were being framed, but he didn’t know how to prove it.
Finally, it was his turn to cross-examine the witnesses. He stood up and faced the first witness, a sergeant who claimed to have seen the accused soldiers running away from the battle.
“Can you describe what you saw?” Dax asked.
“I saw them running away from the battle, sir,” the sergeant replied.
“Did you see them shooting at anyone?” Dax pressed.
“No, sir,” the sergeant admitted.
“So how do you know they were running away from the battle?” Dax asked.
The sergeant looked confused. “I just saw them running, sir.”
Dax knew that he had found a hole in the prosecution’s case. He continued to question the witnesses, finding inconsistencies and contradictions in their stories.
The courtroom was in chaos as Dax continued to tear apart the prosecution’s case. General Mireau was furious, but he knew that he was losing the case.
Finally, the prosecution rested its case, and it was Dax’s turn to present his defense. He called witnesses who testified to the bravery and heroism of the accused soldiers.
He presented evidence that showed that the soldiers had not run away from the battlefield but had instead been ordered to retreat by their commanding officer.
The courtroom was stunned as Dax presented his case. The accused soldiers looked hopeful for the first time since the trial began.
Finally, the trial was over. The jury deliberated for what seemed like hours before returning with a verdict.
The accused soldiers were found guilty of cowardice and treachery and were sentenced to death.
Dax was devastated. He knew that his clients were innocent, and he vowed to continue fighting for them.
As the soldiers were led out of the courtroom, Dax looked at General Mireau with hatred in his eyes. He knew that the general had orchestrated this trial to cover up his own failures.
Dax vowed to seek justice for the innocent victims, even if it meant risking his own life. The war had taken so much from him already, but he would not give up the fight for what was right.
Chapter 3: The Prosecution
General Broulard and General Mireau sat in their office, discussing the upcoming trial of the three scapegoats. Broulard was calm, while Mireau was fuming with outrage.
“This is a disgrace,” Mireau seethed. “How dare those men fail me? How dare they cost us a victory?”
Broulard sighed. “I understand your frustration, but we must make an example of them. The soldiers need to see that failure has consequences.”
Mireau nodded. “I understand. But we need to ensure that the trial goes smoothly. We can’t have any doubts about their guilt.”
Broulard nodded in agreement. “I have complete faith in the prosecution team. The evidence is there, and they know how to present it in the best possible light.”
Meanwhile, in the courtroom, the prosecution team was hard at work. They had been preparing for weeks, meticulously building their case against the three soldiers. They had uncovered evidence that suggested the men were cowards who had abandoned their posts during the battle.
The lead prosecutor, Captain Rousseau, stood before the jury. He was a tall, imposing figure with a stern expression. He began his opening statement by reminding the court of the men’s duty to their country and their fellow soldiers.
“We are here today because these men failed in their duty,” Rousseau said. “They abandoned their posts and retreated in the face of the enemy. Their actions led to the deaths of their comrades and cost us an important victory.”
Rousseau then went on to present the prosecution’s evidence. He called several witnesses, all of whom testified to seeing the three soldiers fleeing the battlefield. He also presented letters and diaries that he claimed proved the men were cowards.
But there was one problem with the evidence – it was all fabricated. The prosecution had coerced the witnesses into lying, and had planted the letters and diaries as evidence. They knew the truth about what had happened on the battlefield, but they were determined to secure a conviction at any cost.
In the defense team’s offices, Colonel Dax was pouring over the evidence. He knew that something wasn’t right, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it. He had a nagging feeling that the prosecution was hiding something, but he couldn’t figure out what.
As the trial continued, Dax began to get more and more frustrated. He objected to several pieces of evidence, but each time his objections were overruled. The prosecution seemed to have an answer for everything, and they were winning over the jury.
Dax knew that he needed to act fast. If he didn’t find a way to counter the prosecution’s evidence, his clients would be doomed. He spent long nights poring over the case, trying to find any loopholes or inconsistencies.
Finally, after weeks of hard work, Dax discovered something that could potentially turn the case around. He had found a witness who had seen the three soldiers fighting bravely on the battlefield. The witness was hesitant to come forward, fearing retribution from the prosecution, but Dax managed to convince him to testify.
On the day of the witness’s testimony, the courtroom was packed. The tension was palpable as the witness took the stand. He was visibly nervous, but he managed to tell his story – a story that contradicted everything the prosecution had presented.
The jury was stunned. They had been led to believe that the three soldiers were cowards, but now they were hearing a different story. Dax pounced on the opportunity, cross-examining the witness and highlighting the inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case.
The trial was far from over, but Dax had managed to deliver a devastating blow to the prosecution. As the courtroom emptied, Dax sat back in his chair, finally allowing himself to relax. He knew that there was still a long way to go, but he had given his clients a fighting chance.
Chapter 4: The Defense
Dax was up all night preparing for the defense of his clients, Corporal Paris, Private Arnaud, and Private Ferol. He knew that the prosecution had a strong case against them, and he had to find a way to prove their innocence. As he sat in his office, going over the evidence, he realized that the prosecution had fabricated much of it, and he had to find a way to expose their lies.
He started by gathering witness testimonies from other soldiers who had been on the battlefield that day. He knew that their stories would be crucial in proving the scapegoats’ innocence. He also consulted with medical experts to get a better understanding of the injuries sustained by the accused.
He spent hours going over the evidence and strategizing how he would present his case. He knew that he had to be compelling and convincing if he wanted to win. He practiced his opening statement in front of a mirror, making sure that it was perfect.
Finally, the day of the trial arrived, and Dax entered the courtroom with a sense of purpose. He knew that he was up against a formidable opponent in General Mireau, who was leading the prosecution. Mireau was known for his ruthless tactics, and Dax knew that he had to be prepared.
The trial began, and the prosecution presented their case. They brought up witness after witness who testified that the scapegoats had shown cowardice on the battlefield. They presented fabricated evidence and twisted the facts to make their case sound convincing.
Dax knew that he had to counter their arguments one by one. He called up his own witnesses, soldiers who had been on the battlefield that day and could testify to the bravery and courage of the scapegoats. He also presented medical evidence that showed that the injuries sustained by the scapegoats were consistent with their accounts of the battle.
As the trial wore on, Dax began to sense that he was making progress. The jury looked interested and engaged, and he knew that he was starting to chip away at the prosecution’s case. He continued to present his evidence and call up witnesses, and soon the tide of the trial began to turn in his favor.
Finally, it was time for Dax to give his closing argument. He stood up and walked to the front of the courtroom, looking out at the jury with a sense of determination. He began to speak, his voice strong and clear, making his case with passion and commitment.
He argued that the scapegoats were innocent, that they had been wrongly accused of cowardice and treachery. He presented evidence that showed that they had acted bravely on the battlefield, risking their lives to save their comrades. He called on the jury to see the truth, to look past the prosecution’s lies and see the innocence of the scapegoats.
As he finished his closing argument, he felt a sense of relief. He knew that he had done everything in his power to defend his clients, and he hoped that the jury would see the truth and acquit them.
The jury retired to deliberate, and Dax waited anxiously outside the courtroom. He knew that the verdict could go either way, and the fate of the scapegoats hung in the balance. After what seemed like an eternity, the jury returned to the courtroom.
The judge read out the verdict, and Dax held his breath. The jury had found the scapegoats not guilty. Dax felt a surge of joy and relief, and he knew that he had done the right thing by defending them.
As he left the courtroom, he was surrounded by soldiers who had come to thank him for his efforts. They knew that justice had been served, and they knew that Dax had played a crucial role in making it happen.
Dax walked out of the courtroom, feeling a sense of pride and accomplishment. He knew that the war was far from over, but he also knew that he had made a difference, that he had fought for something that he believed in. He walked back to his office, feeling tired but satisfied. He had won this battle, but he knew that there were many more to come.
Chapter 5: The Verdict
The courtroom was silent as the verdict was being read. Three soldiers, Corporal Paris, Private Arnaud, and Private Ferol, sat in their chairs, their eyes downcast. Colonel Dax stood proudly behind them, his unwavering belief in their innocence still driving him forward.
General Mireau, who had led the ill-fated offensive and had pushed for the scapegoating of the three soldiers, watched with a smug grin on his face. He was certain that the court-martial would find the men guilty and that they would be executed, serving as a warning to others who dared to fail in battle.
The presiding judge cleared his throat before delivering his verdict. “In consideration of the evidence presented and the testimony given, the court-martial finds Corporal Paris, Private Arnaud, and Private Ferol guilty of cowardice and treachery in the face of the enemy. They are hereby sentenced to death.”
Dax’s heart sank as he heard the verdict. He knew that the evidence against the soldiers was fabricated, and he had done everything in his power to prove their innocence, but it seemed that General Mireau’s influence had managed to sway the court-martial in the prosecution’s favor.
The three soldiers remained stoic as they heard their sentence. Dax stepped forward, glaring at General Mireau. “This verdict is a travesty,” he declared. “These men are innocent, and you know it. You lied, and you cheated, and now you have blood on your hands.”
Mireau didn’t flinch, but Dax could sense the tension in the courtroom rising. The families of the three soldiers wept openly, their children clinging to them as they realized that their loved ones would soon be executed.
Dax knew that he had to act fast if he wanted to save the men’s lives. He approached the judge and begged for a stay of execution while he filed an appeal. But the judge shook his head, saying that there was nothing he could do.
Dax turned to the three soldiers, his voice shaking with emotion. “I won’t give up,” he told them. “I will fight for you until the bitter end. I will do everything in my power to clear your names and bring justice to those who have wronged you.”
The soldiers nodded, their eyes bright with tears. They knew that they had a true ally in Dax, and they were grateful for every moment that he had spent defending them.
As the courtroom emptied out, with the soldiers being led away to their cells, Dax stayed behind, his heart heavy with sadness and anger. He knew that he had to come up with a new strategy, a new way to prove that the scapegoats were innocent and to bring justice to the families who had been wronged.
He sat at a desk in his office, surrounded by piles of papers and books. He worked tirelessly, poring over military codes and regulations, trying to find a loophole or a precedent that would help him win his appeal.
Days turned into weeks as Dax worked tirelessly, barely stopping to eat or sleep. He became a man obsessed, driven by his intense desire to see justice served.
Finally, after weeks of intense research and preparation, Dax was ready to file his appeal. He gathered the necessary paperwork and headed to the courthouse, his heart pounding with nervous energy.
He approached the judge and presented his appeal, outlining all of the evidence that had been ignored or suppressed during the initial trial. The judge listened carefully before finally agreeing to hear the case.
Dax was overjoyed at this small victory, knowing that it could mean the difference between life and death for the three soldiers. He worked tirelessly in the weeks leading up to the appeal, gathering more evidence and building a stronger case.
Finally, the day of the appeal arrived. Dax and the soldiers stood nervously in the courtroom, waiting for the judge to render his decision.
The judge looked over the evidence presented before him, and then he spoke. “In light of the new evidence presented in this appeal, I have no choice but to overturn the previous verdict. Corporal Paris, Private Arnaud, and Private Ferol are hereby exonerated of all charges.”
Dax felt a weight lift off his shoulders as the judge spoke. He looked over at the three soldiers, who were now smiling and laughing with joy. They had been given a second chance, thanks to Dax’s tireless efforts.
As they left the courthouse that day, Dax knew that their fight was far from over. They had won an important battle, but the war against injustice and corruption still raged on. But for that moment, at least, they could hold their heads high, knowing that they had fought for what was right and had come out on top.
Chapter 6: The Execution
Dax stood outside the prison with tears in his eyes and a lump in his throat. He had fought so hard to prove the innocence of Corporal Paris, Private Arnaud, and Private Ferol, but it was all for naught. The military tribunal had found the three soldiers guilty of cowardice and treachery and had sentenced them to death.
The trial was a sham, and Dax knew it. The prosecution had presented fabricated evidence, and the top brass had used the scapegoats as a way to cover up their own mistakes. But despite the miscarriage of justice, Dax could do nothing to stop the execution.
The soldiers were brought out one by one and tied to a post. They were offered a last cigarette and a blindfold before the firing squad took aim. Dax could hear their quiet sobs and prayers as they waited for the inevitable. He had seen so much death and destruction in the war, but this was different. These were his men, falsely accused and condemned to die.
The moment the shots rang out, Dax felt his heart shatter into a million pieces. It was as if he had lost a part of himself, and he knew that the families of the scapegoats would never fully recover from the injustice done to their loved ones. Dax could see the sorrow in the eyes of the other soldiers as they watched their comrades killed. He knew that this would leave a deep scar on the unit and the military as a whole.
As the execution ended, Dax was filled with rage. He knew that his fight was not over. He needed to make sure that those responsible for this gross miscarriage of justice paid for their sins. The top brass had used the scapegoats to cover their own mistakes, and Dax was determined to expose them.
Dax went to the office of General Mireau, the man responsible for the failed offensive and the prosecution of the scapegoats. He barged in without knocking and found Mireau alone. Mireau was surprised to see Dax, but before he could say anything, Dax spoke up.
“You are responsible for the deaths of those men,” Dax said, his voice filled with anger. “You used them as scapegoats to cover up your own incompetence. You are a coward and a disgrace to the uniform.”
Mireau’s face turned red with anger, and he tried to defend himself, but Dax wasn’t having any of it. He continued to berate Mireau for his actions and demanded that he face a military tribunal for his crimes.
Mireau was taken aback by Dax’s sudden outburst, and he knew that he was in trouble. He tried to explain his side of the story, but Dax wouldn’t listen. He was too consumed with his rage and his desire for justice.
After a heated argument, Dax stormed out of Mireau’s office. He knew that he had a tough road ahead of him, but he was determined to see it through. He needed to find a way to expose the top brass and bring them to justice.
Dax spent the next few weeks gathering evidence and speaking to witnesses. He uncovered a web of deceit and corruption within the military hierarchy. The scapegoats had been used as a way to cover up the failures of the top brass, and Dax had the evidence to prove it.
He presented his findings to the military tribunal and demanded that the top brass responsible for the miscarriage of justice be held accountable. It was a long and grueling legal battle, but Dax refused to back down.
In the end, Dax succeeded. The top brass were brought to justice, and the families of the scapegoats were given the closure they so desperately needed. Dax finally felt that justice had been served, and he knew that the sacrifice made by those brave soldiers had not been in vain.
The scars of the trial and execution would remain with Dax and his unit forever, but they could at least take solace in the knowledge that they had stood up to corruption and fought for justice. They had shown that even in the midst of war, the principles of truth and justice were worth fighting for.
Chapter 7: The Revenge
The night was dark and cold, and the air was thick with tension as Colonel Dax led his men towards the enemy stronghold. They had been planning this operation for weeks, ever since the scapegoats had been wrongfully convicted and executed. Dax’s fierce determination to seek justice for his fallen comrades had fueled his every move, and he knew that failure was not an option.
As they approached the enemy camp, Dax signaled for his men to spread out and surround the area. They moved silently, taking care to avoid the sentries that were posted around the perimeter. Dax knew that the element of surprise was crucial to their success, and they were counting on it to catch the enemy off guard.
As they moved closer to the main structure, Dax signaled for his men to prepare for the assault. They checked their weapons and made any final adjustments to their gear before moving in. The enemy had no idea what was coming, and they were completely caught off guard.
The first barrage of gunfire erupted as Dax and his men stormed the building. They moved quickly and efficiently, taking out any threats as they went. The element of surprise had given them the upper hand, and they were determined to use it to their advantage.
Dax led the charge, firing his weapon with precision and accuracy. He had trained his men well, and they followed his lead without hesitation. The sound of gunfire was deafening, and the air was filled with the acrid smell of smoke and gunpowder.
As they moved deeper into the building, they encountered more resistance from the enemy. They fought back fiercely, but Dax and his men were relentless. They pressed forward, determined to reach their objective.
Finally, they reached the heart of the enemy stronghold, and Dax knew that their mission was almost complete. He signaled for his men to regroup and prepare for the final assault. They moved quickly and efficiently, taking out any remaining threats as they went.
The battle was intense, and Dax and his men were pushed to their limits. But they fought with everything they had, driven by their desire for justice and revenge. They moved as one unit, their movements fluid and precise.
As the battle raged on, Dax noticed movement out of the corner of his eye. He turned just in time to see an enemy soldier raise his weapon and take aim. Without hesitation, Dax charged forward, diving in front of his men and taking the bullet meant for them.
The sound of gunfire slowly faded away as Dax lay on the ground, his body riddled with wounds. His men gathered around him, their faces etched with concern and sorrow. Dax looked up at them, a sense of peace washing over him. He had fought for justice and for his comrades, and he had succeeded.
As Dax drew his last breath, his men continued to fight on, fueled by his bravery and determination. They pushed forward, taking out any remaining enemy soldiers and securing the stronghold. When it was finally over, they gathered around Dax’s body, paying their respects to the fallen hero.
The aftermath of the battle was bittersweet. They had avenged the wrongful conviction and execution of their comrades, but the cost had been high. Many lives had been lost, including that of their beloved leader, Colonel Dax. But they knew that his sacrifice had not been in vain, and that justice had finally been served.
In the end, Dax’s legacy would live on, inspiring future generations to fight for what is right and to never give up in the face of adversity. And though he may be gone, his memory would forever be etched in the hearts and minds of his comrades.
Chapter 8: The Aftermath
The sun was setting on the battlefield, the sound of gunfire had slowly faded away, and a silence had settled over the area. The remaining soldiers were looking around in shock at the destruction that had occurred around them. The air was filled with the smell of gunpowder and smoke.
Dax’s body lay still on the ground, surrounded by his comrades. His face was peaceful, still wearing the expression of someone who had fought for justice and freedom to the very end. His men were gathered around him, paying their respects and grieving for their fallen leader.
But the battle was won, and the enemy stronghold had been captured. The surviving members of the French army were a mixture of emotions; relief, sadness, and joy. Finally, justice had been served, and the scapegoats had been cleared of their false charges.
The family members of Paris, Arnaud, and Ferrol, who had been accused and executed, could finally rest easy, knowing that their loved ones had been fighting for their country with bravery and honor. Dax’s men knew that justice for the scapegoats would not have been possible without Dax’s unwavering dedication and sacrifice.
For the first time in a long time, hope and optimism filled the air. The war didn’t seem as endless and pointless as it had before. The battle was not only an achievement for the French army but was also a testament to the human spirit. The courage and sacrifice of those who had fallen, including Dax, had paved the way for a better future.
As the French army started packing up for their next mission, Dax’s men noticed a document in his pocket. It was a letter addressed to the families of Paris, Arnaud, and Ferrol. The letter expressed Dax’s deepest condolences for their loss and shared his unwavering belief in their innocence. It also spoke of Dax’s admiration for the courage of the three soldiers who had given their lives for their country.
The soldiers read the letter aloud to each other, tears streaming down their faces. Dax had not only been their leader but their friend and mentor. The letter was a reminder of his compassion and dedication to justice.
As the sun set over the battlefield, the remaining soldiers started marching away towards their next mission. They carried with them not only the memories of those who had fallen but also the hope that justice and honor would always prevail. They knew that Dax would have been proud of them, and he would have wanted them to continue fighting for what they believed in.
The sun had fully set when the last soldier left the battlefield, leaving behind only memories and scattered remnants of the war. The war was still raging on, but for the soldiers who had been a part of Dax’s journey, the future looked a little bit brighter. They knew that they had a duty to keep fighting, to keep striving towards peace and justice, no matter what the cost may be.
Some scenes from the movie Paths of Glory written by A.I.
Colonel Dax – a courageous and empathetic leader who fights for justice
Corporal Paris – a young soldier who is wrongfully accused of cowardice
Private Arnaud – a hardened soldier with a dark past
Private Ferol – a sensitive and talented artist
The trenches of France during World War I
Dax – “Men, we have a mission to capture the enemy stronghold. We must be relentless and swift, but most importantly, we must have each other’s backs. Are you ready?”
Soldiers – “Sir, yes sir!”
The scene opens on the French Army marching through the muddy trenches, with Dax leading the way. The soldiers look weary but determined. They carry rifles and packs on their backs, ready to fight.
As they approach the enemy stronghold, they are met with machine gun fire and bombs exploding around them. Chaos ensues as the soldiers scramble for cover. Dax yells orders, trying to regain control of the situation.
In the midst of the gunfire, Corporal Paris freezes. He can’t move and is paralyzed with fear. Private Arnaud sees Paris’s struggle and tries to pull him to safety, but both of them are shot. Private Ferol, who is hiding behind a wall, watches helplessly as his comrades fall.
The battle ends with the French Army losing many soldiers and failing to capture the enemy stronghold. Dax is devastated and knows the repercussions will be severe. He looks around at the wounded and dead soldiers and feels a strong sense of responsibility.
Dax – “We will regroup and try again. We will not let the enemy defeat us. We will fight with honor and courage.”
The soldiers nod in agreement, but the reality of what just happened sinks in. The scene ends with Dax standing alone, looking out over the battlefield with a heavy heart.
Genre: War Drama
Logline: In World War I, a commanding officer defends three innocent scapegoats on trial for cowardice and treachery in an attempt to seek justice for their wrongful conviction.
– Colonel Dax, commanding officer of his regiment and the defense attorney for the three scapegoats
– General Mireau, the prosecutor in charge of the case and a corrupt superior officer
– Corporal Paris, one of the scapegoats on trial
– Private Arnaud, one of the scapegoats on trial
– Private Ferol, one of the scapegoats on trial
Setting: A military courtroom in France, 1916
INT. MILITARY COURTROOM – DAY
Colonel Dax stands at the defense table, with Corporal Paris, Private Arnaud, and Private Ferol seated behind him. General Mireau sits on the opposite side of the courtroom, surrounded by his senior officers.
GENERAL MIREAU: (smirking) Colonel Dax, I trust you’ve reviewed the evidence against these men? The charges of cowardice and treachery are quite damning.
COLONEL DAX: (firmly) General, I have reviewed the evidence, and I find it to be largely circumstantial. I will show that my clients acted with courage and loyalty on the battlefield.
GENERAL MIREAU: (laughing) Don’t be ridiculous, Colonel. These men fled from the enemy, abandoning their posts and their comrades. They deserve nothing less than a firing squad.
COLONEL DAX: (angrily) I beg to differ, General. These men were simply following orders, and the blame for the failed offensive lies squarely on your shoulders.
General Mireau’s officers mutter and scoff at Colonel Dax’s accusation.
GENERAL MIREAU: (standing up) You dare implicate me in this fiasco? You have no proof, Colonel. Your defense is nothing but a desperate attempt to save face.
COLONEL DAX: (calmly) I have more than proof, General. I have the truth. And I will make sure that it is heard in this courtroom.
The judge bangs his gavel, calling for order.
JUDGE: (firmly) That is enough, gentlemen. Colonel Dax, please proceed with your opening statement.
Colonel Dax takes a deep breath, ready to fight for justice as the camera fades to black.
End of Scene.
INT. MILITARY COURTROOM – DAY
Colonel Dax is standing up for the three scapegoats, Corporal Paris, Private Arnaud, and Private Ferol. General Mireau and his prosecution team are cross-examining Paris.
Corporal Paris, can you tell me why you and your comrades ran away from the battlefield?
We didn’t run away, sir. We were ordered to retreat.
I find it hard to believe that three experienced soldiers like you would retreat without a valid reason. Are you saying that you disobeyed my orders?
No, sir. We followed your orders. We retreated as you instructed.
Then why did you abandon your posts and leave your fellow soldiers to die?
Objection, Your Honor. The prosecution is badgering the witness.
Overruled. General Mireau has the right to cross-examine the witness.
Corporal Paris, I’m simply trying to get to the bottom of this. Why did you abandon your posts?
Corporal Paris looks at Dax, who nods.
It’s because the artillery fire was coming from our own troops. Private Arnaud and Private Ferol were both wounded. We had to retreat to save their lives.
General Mireau looks skeptical.
That’s quite a convenient excuse, Corporal. Do you have any evidence to support your claim?
Dax stands up.
Yes, Your Honor. I have a letter from a fellow soldier who witnessed the friendly fire.
Dax hands the letter to the judge, who reads it.
This letter seems to support Corporal Paris’s claim. General Mireau, do you have any further questions?
General Mireau shakes his head.
No, Your Honor.
The judge looks at Dax.
Very well, Colonel Dax. You may continue.
INT. MILITARY COURTROOM – DAY
Corporal Paris, Private Arnaud and Private Ferol sit at the defense table. Colonel Dax stands in front of them, ready to deliver his closing argument.
Your Honor, we have heard the prosecution’s case against these three men, and I can tell you with absolute certainty that they are not guilty of the charges laid against them.
GENERAL BROSSARD, the presiding judge, listens intently.
They were not cowards or traitors. They were soldiers, like you and I. They gave their all on the battlefield, and their bravery should not be called into question.
General Brossard looks skeptical. Dax continues.
The prosecution has painted a picture of these men as weak and cowardly, but the truth is far different. They were simply following orders, orders that were given by General Mireau himself.
General Brossard looks stunned. The other officers in the courtroom murmur amongst themselves.
Yes, General Mireau. The man who ordered this attack. The man who was willing to sacrifice his own men for his own personal gain. The man who should be on trial, not these three innocent soldiers.
Dax paces back and forth, his voice rising.
I implore you, Your Honor. Do not let these men die for a crime they did not commit. Justice demands that we hold the real culprit accountable. Justice demands that we acquit these soldiers and restore their honor.
General Brossard looks conflicted. He looks to the prosecution, then to Dax.
I will take this matter under advisement and render my verdict in due course. This court is adjourned.
The officers exit the courtroom, leaving the three soldiers and Dax behind. Dax turns to them, a glimmer of hope in his eyes.
I think we may have a chance.
INT. MILITARY COURTROOM – DAY
The scene opens in the courtroom where the three scapegoats are on trial. The tension in the air is palpable as the judge reads out the verdict.
Corporal Paris, Private Arnaud, and Private Ferol, the jury finds you guilty of cowardice and treachery. The sentence is death. You will be executed at sunrise tomorrow.
The courtroom erupts in chaos as the families of the accused cry out in agony. Dax is visibly shaken and devastated by the verdict.
DAX (to the judge)
Your Honor, I request a stay of execution. I will appeal the verdict to a higher court. These men are innocent.
Your request is denied. The verdict stands.
Dax looks around the courtroom, searching for a way to help his clients. He sees the despair on the faces of the accused and their families and knows he can’t give up.
DAX (to the accused)
I won’t let you die for something you didn’t do. We will appeal this verdict, and justice will be served.
The accused soldiers give Dax a small nod, acknowledging his promise.
INT. DAX’S OFFICE – NIGHT
Dax is pacing back and forth in his office, looking through the evidence and trying to find anything that would exonerate the accused. Suddenly, he has an epiphany and starts scribbling something on a piece of paper.
DAX (to himself)
That’s it. That’s the key to proving their innocence.
INT. JUDGE’S OFFICE – EARLY MORNING
Dax barges into the Judge’s office, holding the piece of paper.
Your Honor, I’ve found new evidence that exonerates the accused.
Dax hands the piece of paper to the Judge. The Judge reads it and a look of realization takes over his face.
JUDGE (to Dax)
You’re right. This proves their innocence. The trial is adjourned.
EXT. PRISON YARD – SUNRISE
The sun is rising, and the execution is about to take place. The accused soldiers are lined up against the wall, blindfolded.
Dax runs towards the prison yard, shouting.
Stop the execution! I have evidence that proves their innocence.
The executioner stops, and the soldiers lower their rifles.
JUDGE (to the accused)
You’re free to go. The evidence exonerates you.
The accused soldiers remove their blindfolds and break down in tears of relief.
Dax hugs each of the soldiers, overwhelmed with emotion.
I promised you justice, and I kept my promise.
The scene ends with the newly acquitted soldiers walking away from the prison yard, with Dax leading the way.
EXT. PRISON YARD – DAY
The three scapegoats, Corporal Paris, Private Arnaud and Private Ferol, are lined up against a wall. The firing squad stands ready.
Dax watches on with a heavy heart as one by one, the men are executed.
Dax turns away as the final shot rings out, unable to bear the sight of the bloody aftermath. He looks up to see General Mireau approaching.
That should send a message to the rest of the troops. A lesson in what happens to cowards.
Those men were not cowards, they were innocent.
Innocent? Hardly. They failed their country, their comrades and their commanding officer. They got what they deserved.
Dax lunges at Mireau, but is held back by soldiers.
You and your kind are the reason we’re losing this war. You use young men as pawns in your own power game. Well, I will not stand by and let this happen anymore.
Dax is dragged away by the soldiers as Mireau smirks.
FADE TO BLACK.
Scene 7: The Revenge
EXT. BATTLEFIELD – DAY
Colonel Dax (Kirk Douglas) leads his men towards the enemy stronghold. They move swiftly, their eyes fixed on their target. The camera follows Dax, whose face is set with determination.
(to his men)
This is it, boys! This is what it’s all about. Remember what they did to our brothers? Remember the verdict? Let’s show them what we’re made of!
The soldiers shout in agreement, and they move forward. Explosions and gunshots fill the air, and the camera captures the chaos of the battlefield.
EXT. ENEMY STRONGHOLD – DAY
The soldiers reach the stronghold and start to climb over the walls. They are met with fierce resistance from the enemy, who are firing at them from all angles. Dax leads his men through the chaos, dodging bullets and grenades.
Suddenly, Dax is hit by a bullet in the chest. He falls to the ground, but he manages to pull himself up and keep going. He fights through the pain, his eyes fixed on the enemy.
EXT. ENEMY STRONGHOLD – LATER
The soldiers have taken control of the stronghold. Dax walks through the rubble, his face bloody and bruised. He sees his men celebrating their victory and smiles.
(to the soldiers)
Good job, boys. We did it.
The soldiers cheer, and the camera pans over their faces. The sense of relief and triumph is palpable.