How far would you go to change your life? Eric "Chance" West hates being poor and often ponders his future as a young black man in America. He decides that joining the U.S. Army, rather than going to college, is his way out of the vicious cycle of under-earning and tenement-dwelling in which he and his friends grew up. Not long after his eighteenth birthday, Chance is sent to Vietnam. During this time abroad, he witnesses rampant drug use and decides that if other people are getting rich off dealing drugs, he might as well be one of them. As soon as he gets discharged, Chance hooks up with some of his old friends and service buddies to form a gentlemen's syndicate. To his surprise, they all agree to follow his lead-albeit with dollar signs in their eyes. After making millions in the drug business, Chance intends to redeem himself by going legit. But becoming a philanthropist and helping his fellow African Americans obtain jobs may not be enough to keep his checkered past at bay .