Tai (Duong) is a former Army translator now appointed camp manager at a Vietnamese refugee camp in 1975. He brings a nephew, Minh, and a niece, Anh, as well as a boatload of guilt over leaving their mother behind. He forms a bond with his boss, Jim (Swayze) who seems gruff but has his own issues. The camp cook (Whitaker) helps Minh open up by teaching him to paint and working with him on a mural depicting an idealized American melting pot, with the titular Green Dragon at its center. Various subplots and periods of heavy-handed sentimantality threaten to overwhelm fine character study, but overall this is an engaging look at a period of American history previously ignored.