A widower, Mr. Holston, arrives at the Glenda Lough Military School. The gatekeeper passes Holston's limo through the gate and Holston goes past a drill instructor putting the students through exercises. Holston checks in at the desk and goes to meet with the academy's Director. Holston explains that his son Roger has gotten into some trouble but is basically a good kid, but needs discipline. The Director comments on Mrs. Holston death and that she died in a boating accident, and Holston wonders how he learned that information. The Director assures him that they thoroughly check their applicants, and Holston explains that his son was 10 when he was in a rowboat with his mother. The rowboat capsized, killing his wife, but there was never any indication it was anything but an accident. The Director assures him that they aren't interested in judging, but want to anticipate any emotional problems. Holston asks about the visitation policy, and the Director admits that students aren't allowed to visit home for one year, but parents can visit at any time.
The Director and Holston go on a tour of the campus and visit a math class, where students of all ages learn together. When Holston comments on the age discrepancy, the Director explains that they don't use the standard school designations. They continue on to the dormitories while the Director talks about how they use drill instruction for discipline. In the dormitory, Holston questions one of the older students, Sloane. Sloane explains that he's an orphan, and has no plans for the future but he's happy at the academy. As they go, Holston comments that he remembers that 15 years ago, Sloane assault a young mother when he was 15.
Holston starts to ask the Director more about Sloane, but the Director points out the school's statue of a soldier pointing the way for a student... toward the academy instead of away. Holston comments on that, and the Director insists that it is there to provide inspiration. Holston then asks if they'll consider Roger, and the Director says that it's always been agreed upon. When Holston asks how long his son will take to graduate, the Director is mildly surprised and explains that there is no set graduation period. Students stay there until they are considered suitable for release. He notes that most parents prefer it that way, and Holston tells him that he will bring Roger there the next day.
As Holston goes back through the gate, he talks to the elderly gatekeeper and asks if he enjoys working there. The gatekeeper, Simmons tells him that he is a cadet, not an employee, and he started there when he was 15. In a few months he'll be 55.
As Holston returns to his limo, the chauffeur, George, asks if Roger can handle the academy, and warns that he's high-strung. Holston says that Roger is a rotter and they both know it, and that he'll fit in perfectly at the academy.