"Gardens of Stone" refers to Arlington National Cemetery, its endless rows of tombstones marking the graves of America's fallen war heroes. This garden is tended by the "Old Guard", an elite Army unit led by decorated veterans no longer serving active duty. When brash young recruit Jackie Willow (D.B.Sweeney) is assigned to the unit, he becomes a surrogate son to Sgt. Clell Hazard (James Caan) and Sgt. Major "Goody" Nelson (James Earl Jones). The older men must prepare the younger for the deadly environment of war. Meanwhile, Hazard begins a love affair with an anti-war newspaper reporter (Anjelica Hudson) and Willow rekindles a romance with a former college sweetheart (Mary Stuart Masterson). Against a backdrop of protest, uncertainty and violence, the war at home and the war abroad intersect with unforgettable consequences.