Lane Meyer is obsessed with his girlfriend Beth and is crushed when she falls for the new captain of the ski team, Roy. After several failed suicide attempts, narrow escapes from the relentless paper boy, and nearly unbearable dinners at home with his crazy family, Lane finds a new love in French exchange student Monique Junot. Meanwhile, he must beat Roy on the slopes to regain his honor.
After the death of his son, travel writer Macon Leary seems to be sleep walking through life. Macon's wife is having similar problems. They separate, and Macon meets a strange, outgoing woman who brings him 'back down to earth', but his wife soon thinks their marriage is still worth another try.
Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard leaves Europe, eventually arriving in the United States. With the help of Einstein, he persuades the government to build an atomic bomb. The project is given to no-nonsense Gen. Leslie Groves who selects physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer to head the Los Alamos Laboratory in New Mexico, where the bomb is built. As World War II draws to a close, Szilard has second thoughts about atomic weapons, and policy makers debate how and when to use the bomb.