Sam Gifford remembers : In prewar years he was an arrogant southern cotton plantation owner, married to the daughter of a colonel. At the beginning of the war he was mobilized with his National Guard unit as a sergeant. Came the day when, revolted by the cowardice of his lieutenant, who had fired at his own men, he hit him. Downgraded, he was sent to a disciplinary battalion. Sam now discovers his new detachment, his new commanding officer, just another cowardly brute, Captain Waco Grimes. While in combat, Sam will gradually become closer to the privates, working-class people he used to despise. He will become another man, a better man.
In 1841, young Ishmael signs up for service abroad the Pequod, a whaler sailing out of New Bedford. The ship is under the command of Captain Ahab, a strict disciplinarian who exhorts his men to find Moby Dick, the great white whale.
Juliette Hardy is sexual dynamite, and has the men of a French coastal town panting. But Antoine, the only man who affects her likewise, wouldn't dream of settling down with a woman his friends consider the town tramp.
Sissi is now the empress of Austria and attempts to learn etiquette. While she is busy being empress she also has to deal with her difficult new mother-in-law, while the arch-duchess Sophie is trying to tell the emperor how to rule and also Sissi how to be a mother.
Jubal Troop is a cowboy who is found in a weakened condition, without a horse. He is given shelter at Shep Horgan's large ranch, where he quickly makes an enemy in foreman Pinky, a cattleman who accuses Jubal of carrying the smell of sheep.