In 1864, George Pullman began selling his famous railroad sleeping cars, which helped him build a vast industrial empire that was supposed to last forever. A model of the modern employer, Pullman had constructed a self-sustaining village for his workers just outside Chicago, with its own school, sewage system, and public works.
The film portrays a fictional nuclear war between NATO forces and the Warsaw Pact that rapidly escalates into a full scale exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union, focusing on the residents of Lawrence, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri, as well as several family farms situated next to nearby nuclear missile silos.
High School student David Lightman (Matthew Broderick) has a talent for hacking. But while trying to hack into a computer system to play unreleased video games, he unwittingly taps into the Defense Department's war computer and initiates a confrontation of global proportions! Together with his girlfriend (Ally Sheedy) and a wizardly computer genius (John Wood), David must race against time to outwit his opponent.