This modern re-working of a Frank Capra style fable tells the story of a small-time crook, Bernie Laplante (Dustin Hoffman), who grudgingly rescues an entire plane of crash victims, including TV reporter Gale Gayley (Geena Davis). He then disappears, heading home to say goodbye to his son before he has to go to jail. Gale turns the absent hero into a media celebrity, offering a million dollar reward to the man who can prove that he is the hero by producing the match to a shoe found in the mud outside the plane. John Bubber (Andy Garcia), a down-on-his-luck Vietnam vet, steps forward to claim the reward; he is able to produce the shoe, which he got from Bernie after giving him a lift that fateful night. Bernie, who considers himself a cash kind of guy changes his mind about the virtues of anonymity, and he tries to prove he is the real hero and claim his reward, while John begins to feel pangs of guilt over his deception and Gale begins to have feelings for the hero she created. This fast paced social comedy brings to mind Capra heros from the past such as Longfellow Deeds and John Doe, ordinary men who became overnight media sensations and national heroes.