Judy Benjamin (Goldie Hawn) is an American woman who joins the U.S. Army after her new husband dies on their wedding night during sex. Duped by a sneaky recruiting sergeant, Jim Ballard (Harry Dean Stanton), who lets her believe military life to be more glamorous than it is, she has a rude awakening in boot camp. After getting in trouble constantly, Judy wants to quit but chooses to stick it out, and has a series of adventures which eventually lead to promotion.
During her service, Judy meets Henri Tremont (Armand Assante), a dashing French doctor. However, their romance is short-lived when he returns to Paris and she to her army career. Later Judy manages to be assigned to SHAPE in Belgium, and she meets up with Henri again. He proposes marriage; she accepts, but when Captain Lewis (Eileen Brennan), her boot camp officer, discovers that Tremont is a communist, Judy is forced to choose between giving up her army career or leaving him to continue her service.
After she chooses Henri over the Army, Judy discovers Henri's controlling side, when he tries to 'remake' her, and when forced to sign a prenuptial agreement in his favor. Then, when she finds out Henri is still madly in love with an old flame (his ex, Clare) and has cheated on her with their maid, she realizes that she is capable of doing whatever she wants, and that she doesn't need Henri for that. She walks out on him at the altar to go and live her own life.