Sexually abused as a young girl, Kate “Ma” Barker (Shelley Winters) grows into a violently powerful woman by the 1930s. She lovingly dominates her grown sons, and grooms them into a pack of tough crooks. The boys include the cruel Herman (Don Stroud), who still shares a bed with Ma; Fred (Robert Walden), an ex-con who fell in love with a fellow prisoner; and Lloyd (Robert De Niro), who gets high on whatever’s handy. Together they form a deadly, bizarre family of Depression-era bandits.
Spend time on both sides of World War I, partly with German flying ace Baron Manfred Von Richthofen (John Phillip Law), aka “The Red Baron,” and his colorful “flying circus” of Fokker fighter planes, during the time from his arrival at the war front to his death in combat. On the other side is Roy Brown of the Royal Air Force, sometimes credited with shooting Richthofen down.