King John holds the throne of England illegitimately, having stolen it from the rightful heir, his nephew Arthur. Supported by his powerful mother, Queen Elinor, John decides to go to war with France. Arthur’s mother, Constance, has convinced Lewis, the Dauphin of France, to back Arthur. The armies meet outside Angiers, and, for a long time, whether negotiating or fighting, there is no clear victor. Finally, England gains the day, and Arthur is captured. He is taken back to England, where John orders him murdered, but Arthur’s executioner can’t kill the boy. Instead, Arthur, in an attempt to escape, falls to his death. John is crushed; he had changed his mind about killing the young duke, and the boy’s death takes a lot out of him. The Church then excommunicates John, who must submit to Rome or lose his crown. The Pope orders the armies to stand down after John pledges his allegiance to Rome, but neither the French nor the English go home. They fight, and England wins a glorious victory. John enjoys brief good favor, but soon after, he is poisoned to death.