1: A separation. The year is 1912 and a gangly colt is sold at auction to a Devon farmer and taken away from its mother. After some rough handling, the colt is led back to a farm where he makes friends with the farmer’s son, 13-year-old Albert Narracott, who names the colt Joey.
2: A cavalry horse. At the outbreak of WW1 the farm is in financial difficulty. One afternoon, when Albert’s away from the farm, his father takes Joey into the local village and sells him to the army. And so Joey begins a new life in the army and finds a new friend in his rider, Captain Nicholls.
3: The Western Front. Joey trains as a cavalry mount on Salisbury Plain and meets Topthorn, a splendid black stallion, who becomes his firm friend. But before long Joey and Topthorn find themselves bound for the battlefields of France, where they experience action for the first time.
4: Prisoners of war. Joey has a new rider, the kind-hearted Trooper Warren. Joey and Topthorn spend the winter in the reserve camps anticipating the spring campaign. When spring comes, Joey and Topthorn are in action again and are captured by the Germans, along with their riders.
5: A brief respite. Joey and Topthorn are put to work by the Germans hauling the ambulance cart between the front line and the field hospital. Their one consolation is that they are stabled at a local farm and cared for by Emilie, a young French girl, and her grandfather. But the respite will not last long.