Orange County, Southern California, fall, 1971. Five young men meet as they register for law school.
Derek McCall met Thomas Caine while they soldiered in Vietnam. Caine, a medical corpsman in a MASH facility, treated McCall’s arm. They became pals while waiting out a three-day mortar seige. Back in The World both young continue their educations. McCall works in his father’s construction business while Caine works at a hospital where he meets wealthy Kathryn Bradshaw who hopes to introduce him to a world of wealth and power.
Jacob Rosen has two sons and a wife, Ruth. He brought them from Chicago to Dean Greenwood’s private law school, and Jacob plans to graduate first in the class. Health problems change his plans.
Wealthy David Marshall is expected to be his family’s third generation lawyer. He marries beautiful Teri Henderson, daughter of a federal judge, and watches his lifestyle collapse when he refuses to give Teri the child she demands.
C. F. Hawke, half-breed Morongo Indian and tribal police officer, promises his tribe part of his legal career in exchange for a law school scholarship to. He questions that commitment as his lust for Sarah Cooper, an attractive and bright young woman, turns to love. When Sarah’s racist father ejects Hawke from his home, Sarah must choose between her man and her family.
Sandi Hardesty seeks a man who can provide her with a rich lifestyle. She meets McCall, becomes pregnant and watches her life fill with turmoil.
Through law school, the bar exam, and their first legal work, the young men learn the cost of their commitment to the law and the woman each one chose.