Sgt. Ray Elwood (Joaquin Phoenix), a clerk in a U.S. Army battalion stationed in West Germany, spices up his humdrum existence by running a black market that supplies drug dealers with everything from kitchen cleaners to heroin. When he becomes the target of a major investigation, Elwood scrambles to keep his operation covert -- even as he's falling in love with the daughter (Anna Paquin) of the new top sergeant heading the investigation.