Two young college students Arian (Derek Luke) and Ernest (Michael Pena) are inspired by their idealistic professor, Dr. Malley (Robert Redford) to make a difference with their lives. The duo makes the decision to join the battle in Afghanistan, much to the chagrin and pride of Dr. Malley. Now, as Arian and Ernest fight for their lives, they serve to bind two different stories back in America. Dr. Malley tries to reach out to a rich but disaffected student (Andrew Garfield) who is the complete opposite of Arian and Ernest. In Washington, a Presidential candidate, Sen. Jasper Irving (Tom Cruise) is about to leak a bombshell story to a TV reporter (Meryl Streep). This story will affect the fates and lives of Arian and Ernest. As bullets and tempers fly, the three stories are woven together, revealing how each of these Americans has an impact around the world.