The lives of teenaged Jack and Bobby (Robert) McCallister as they went to high school and generally matured. Much conflict was generated between the boys and their mother, Grace, played by Christine Lahti, who was both smart and volatile, and always a dominating influence in their lives. The names of the main characters are unmistakable references to President John Fitzgerald Kennedy and his brother, Senator Robert Francis Kennedy, who were commonly referred to as "Jack" and "Bobby," though it was stated in the show they were named after their father, Juan Roberto del Alba.
The main storyline was paralleled by a series of interviews with figures associated with the McCallister presidency, who spoke of events from Robert McCallister's later life. Typically, there was a thematic link between the main plot, set during Bobby's adolescence, and the reminiscences of his adult life and political career.