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Liberian President Roberts is seen as too non-aligned, and he appears to be drawing his nation away from its traditional United States sphere of influence-a dangerous strategy in the 1970s during the Cold War. Maxwell Forkpa and Samuel Dahn, two young and dashing military men are influenced by the Americans to overthrow the civilian government. Capitalizing on historical divisions between the Settlers and tribal Liberians, the successful coup is initially welcomed by the vast majority of Liberians, especially when the coup-makers pledge to return the country to civilian rule. Soon, the friends who staged the coup are torn by ambitions and rivalries, and they become bitter enemies. Forkpa is tempestuous and is charmed by life at the top as head of state. Enamored by the presidency, he is determined to cling to power at all costs.
Dahn is a cool professional soldier who, though charmed by life in the limelight, wishes for a return to true civilian rule devoid of military men who have exchanged their uniforms for suits. In the clash between the two, Dahn is forced to flee Liberia. Finding himself in involuntary exile, Dahn becomes obsessed with removing Forkpa, his archrival, from power in an aggressive manner. This sets the stage for a violent conflict which will drag the two men and their nation down into the abyss of anarchy.