In the early 1960s, small-time bookie Max Phillips (Jack Klugman) hates his life. His only pride is his son, Pip, who is serving the U.S. Armed Forces in Vietnam. When a young man uses company funds to place a bet with Max, the man loses the wager. Max then returns his money, which angers Max's bosses.
In a post-apocalyptic settlement in 1974, the inhabitants' survival is dependent on the advice of an unseen man living in a nearby cave. This dependence is tested when a band of soldiers descends on their town.
A man, Fenton, is cleaning out his attic when a Japanese gardener, Arthur Takamori, stops by asking if he would like his grass cut. Fenton invites him up for a beer but having served in the Pacific during World War II isn't quite sure what to make of his visitor. He has his prejudices but wavers as Arthur says he was born in the USA and is no different than any other American. As they discuss their pasts, it's revealed that both men have lied and are haunted by what happened to them.