(Based on a true story)


America's buffalo soldiers at the turn of the century were used to inequality. In fact, they almost expected it. If a white unit received thirteen dollars a month in wages, they would receive ten. They almost always received the worst the Army had to offer; bad food, poor quality uniforms, sick horses. They also received the worst the nation had to offer. At a time when the Industrial Revolution brought a new standard of living to most Americans, newly freed men and women fought racism and struggled for opportunity in the land of the free.


MINGO SANDERS, a soldier in the Twenty-fifth infantry stationed out of Fort Missoula, Montana, choose not to dwell on these inequalities. A former cotton-picker from North Carolina, he enlisted in the Army, worked hard, and rose to the highest rank a man of color could achieve - that of First Sergeant.

Under the guidance of their commanding officer, LT JAMES MOSS, Sanders and the men of the Twenty-fifth took to the vast open country of the Midwest to test the viability of the newly-invented bicycle for the military. This brutal, two thousand mile trek over mountain trails, ruts and railroad tracks pushed the men to the extreme of their capabilities.


When oppressed Cubans raised their weapons against imperialist Spain, the Twenty-fifth helped in their liberation. Though they received little mention, they were present when Roosevelt charged up San Juan Hill and into the pages of history.Soldiers of the Twenty-fifth also fought in the brutal Philippine-American War, proving their mettle and courage every step of the way. Upon their return, they were dispatched to forts nationwide, serving loyally where needed despite numerous incidents of racism and bigotry. It was at one such fort in Brownsville, Texas, on the night of August 13, 1906, that would change their lives forever. Brownsville, lily-white and particularly hostile to people of color, let alone soldiers with guns, openly discriminated against the soldiers sent to protect them.


On that hot August night, gunshots rang out in the streets that left one civilian dead. Sanders, only four months away from retirement, was asleep in his bed at the time of the shooting, as were the rest of the men. Following a hasty investigation propelled by flimsy evidence, all one hundred and sixty seven soldiers were summarily discharged without honor or even a trial.

The irony of it was the one who delivered the discharge, for it was none other than President Roosevelt, whom they had fought alongside in Cuba and who glowingly commended their bravery and skill in battle.

Left without a career or the pension due him, Sanders was reduced to working at a series of menial, public-service jobs. Unable to afford medical care, he died while having a gangrenous foot amputated. It was not until 1972, following a thorough investigation, that honorable discharges were granted, finally exonerating the men who had served their country faithfully as soldiers of the regular army.