While covering a coal mine accident in West Virginia, Adam learns that a doctor passing through the town is treating injured workers miles below the earth's surface and wonders what could have motivated him to risk his life for strangers.
Adam accompanies an U.S. Army officer to pick up the personal effects of an American doctor killed for aiding an attempted revolution. He wonders what brought the man to this country and what he experienced in the last hours before he was killed.
Adam travels to a small Southern town to meet with the pretty newspaper editor. He hears the story of a poor uneducated couple who adopt a daughter who is discovered to be a genius. State officials decide that her adoptive parents are now unsuited to raise such a child and attempt to have the girl returned to state custody so a more suitable environment can be found for her.
Alan Shepherd visits a Civil War museum commemorating the Centennial and is attracted to one of its artifacts, a pair of old boots. He imagines what the man who wore them felt during the battle. In his vision, he becomes a Confederate sergeant for a ceasefire with Union soldiers after a bloody battle to treat their wounded and bury their dead. The truce is violated by a Confederate private who covets a pair of boots worn by a Union soldier. The rebel sneaks into enemy lines, kills the Yankee and steals the boots only to discover the footwear of huge holes in their ...
While visiting Hong Kong, an American businessman and his wife are appalled by the living conditions they find the villagers living in. Their attempts to help the local population are hindered by black marketeers who force the villagers to buy their noodles at exorbitant prices.
While driving in the desert, Adam comes upon a tow truck pulling a Model A Ford from a lake with a "Just Married" sign on the bumper. He imagines why the vehicle ran off the road and what happened to the inhabitants.
While attending the launch of a NASA rocket at Cape Canaveral, Adam imagines what it would be like to be the leader of a team of astronauts that has just landed on a planet that might not be as desolate as they were led to believe.
While researching the final days of the Civil War in Appomattox, Virginia, Shepherd stumbles upon a grave at the gate of a grand home and learns that it contains the body of a Union soldier, which is nevertheless tended with utmost respect. Shepherd is curious about the soldier's date of death on - April 10, 1865, the day after Lee's surrender - and the unusual epitaph, "His life in vain" carved on it's headstone, and wonders how the soldier met his end.
While his car is being repaired at a garage bordering an Arizona ghost town, Adam learns that a large rock falling off a mountain onto Main Street caused its demise. He imagines the steps the townspeople would attempt to move the granite boulder and how a clever Easterner might outwit the town boss for the everyone's benefit.