With the words "Put your faith in your sword, and your sword in a Pole," Cossack leader Taras Bulba (Yul Brynner) vows to vanquish the Poles, who double-crossed his people after helping to expel the Turks from the European steppes. Sending his son (Tony Curtis) to school in Poland so he can learn the ways of the enemy, Taras sees his plan backfire when the willful young man falls in love with a Polish woman (Christine Kaufmann).

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