In a mine in Cumberland, Kentucky, a cave-in happens and knocks off a support beam, causing it to fall onto one of the workers. Two of the other workers (one who is the injured worker’s son, Sam Guthrie) stay behind to help the injured worker. A fire starts in the mine. Sam’s powers manifest and grabbing his father and another fellow worker, he propels them out of the mine just before it explodes, saving their lives. Sam is hailed as a local hero.
A Mr Kirkland comes to visit the Guthrie family to get Sam to make his decision to sign up for his college programme and get out of the small town. Unbeknownst to the family, Mr Kirkland has other agendas, receiving orders from a rank above.
At the Institute, Rogue and Gambit are playing pool when Beast walks in with the day’s mail. An article in one of Beast’s journals, “Philologist’s Quarterly”, about Sam Guthrie captures Beast’s attention. Rogue, having come from a small town herself, offers to go talk to Sam to find out about the boy.
Mr Kirkland puts his plan B to work, stirring up animosity among the residents of Cumberland toward Sam by claiming that he is a radiation hazard to the community. Meanwhile, other problems are being stirred up when one of the neighbourhood teens confront a punk teen claiming that he has seen the punk teen’s girlfriend “getting...cosy” with Sam. The punk teen is enraged upon hearing the news.
Meanwhile, Rogue arrives at the Guthrie house under the alias of Ms LeBeau. She explains that she represents a school for special students and has come to talk to Sam. Sam tells Rogue that a Mr Kirkland from the government has approached him with an offer to help with an experiment, but he doesn’t want to leave town and his family, stating his place is in Cumberland. Rogue and Sam are unaware that they are being spied on by Kirkland’s people.
At a diner, Rogue calls back to the Institute. Beast intends to investigate Sam’s claims about Mr Kirkland’s “Peace Corps for mutants”.
Men in uniform step in after news that the X-Men might cause trouble for their recruitment of Sam in their experiment.
Beast finds no sound leads, except to a building in Richmond that is abandoned but register spikes in energy consumption. Xavier sends Gambit to check the building out. Gambit is captured. Knowing that Gambit would not cooperate, the uniformed men decide to carry out experiments on Gambit instead. Beast and Xavier come to Gambit’s rescue.
Back in Cumberland, the punk teen confronts Sam thinking that Sam is coming onto his girlfriend. Sam makes it clear that nothing of the sort happened as the punk claims. But they push him to the ground and have their way with him anyway before taking off. Sam is angered and pursues the punks after they talk bad about his family. Sam gives them a scare until the punk apologises.
Kirkland’s plan works when Sam Guthrie is convinced that he is a danger to his community. Sam makes the call to Kirkland to commit to the government experiment.
When the X-Men arrive to retrieve Sam, the X-Men are confronted by an angry mob. Sam had already gone off with the men in uniform. The uniformed men try to convince Sam that the X-Men are terrorists and should be stopped. But Sam recognises Charles Xavier and Hank McCoy from the photograph. Sensing that he had walked into a trap, Sam escapes to warn the X-Men and his community of an approaching attack.
The uniformed men send out their troops, as well as their first experiment, which turns out to be a failure. They make a hasty retreat. Sam gives chase and destroys their train as well.
Xavier offers Sam a place in the X-Men, but for now, Sam intends to stay with his family and help rebuild their home.