While undertaking his famous "Twelve Labors", imposed upon him by the vengeful goddess, Hera, Hercules saves a village from the Nemean Lion. Witnessing this, the young sheepherder, Iolas, who idolizes Hercules, decides to follow him and find out what makes such a great hero tick. But Hercules doesn't consider himself a hero at all. He has done something long ago that is still haunting him now, and he fights Hera's beasts to try to make up for what he has done. While Hera rejoices at Hercules sufferings, Iolas longs to help his hero free himself from this dark secret. Then, just before Hercules is to fight the nine-headed Hydra, he finally reveals his past to Iolas. When he was young and prideful, he challenged the gods of Olympus by claiming he could shoot an arrow all the way to the sun. With help from an angry Hera, the flaming arrow returned to earth and burned a village. Hercules feels he can never be forgiven for this deed. But before the Hydra can defeat Hercules, Iolas gets him to see that he must stop punishing himself for the past -- and to see that his worth as a hero is in helping those who need him now. Seeing the truth in this, a renewed Hercules defeats the Hydra. But his labors aren't over yet.