The morning of September 12, 1897. Twenty non-commissioned officers of the 36th Sikh Regiment under the command of Havildar Ishar Singh are about to face impossible odds. Ten thousand Pathans and Afghan tribesmen advance on them. In a battle reminiscent of Thermopylae, they will fight for seven hours straight without rest or respite. They will die to a man protecting the British Empire. And they will each receive the Indian Order of Merit: the highest honor yet to be paid any contingent of troops for a single battle in any military force before or since. This is their story.