Lt. Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) is a military lawyer defending two U.S. Marines charged with killing a fellow Marine at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. Although Kaffee is known for seeking plea bargains, a fellow lawyer, Lt. Cdr. JoAnne Galloway (Demi Moore), convinces him that the accused marines were most likely carrying out an order from a commanding officer. Kaffee takes a risk by calling Col. Nathan R. Jessep (Jack Nicholson) to the stand in an effort to uncover the conspiracy.
The last members of a dying Native American tribe, the Mohicans — Uncas (Eric Schweig), his father Chingachgook (Russell Means), and his adopted half-white brother Hawkeye (Daniel Day-Lewis) — live in peace alongside British colonists. But when the daughters (Madeleine Stowe, Jodhi May) of a British colonel are kidnapped by a traitorous scout, Hawkeye and Uncas must rescue them in the crossfire of a gruesome military conflict of which they wanted no part: the French and Indian War.