As an army general (Walter Yong) is laying a wreath across the street from the Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial, a large group of university students, including several people involved with the publication of Peace Magazine, are protesting. Over the objections of McGarrett, the general speaks to the students who say that he is "going to the mainland to negotiate for arms to make war, to destroy blindly rather than trying to find some reasonable road towards peace ... to kill." The general tells them, "Always I've longed for peace. Never have I found a way to attain it." One of the protesters, Julian Scott (Sperry MacNaughton) attempts to give the general a copy of their magazine, but Julian is suddenly shot dead and the general is hustled away in a limousine.
The protesters connected with Peace Magazine meet with McGarrett in his office to examine some photo blow-ups which may have some clues as to who is responsible for Julian's killing. They are not co-operative, and one of them, Jackie Ito (Linda Ansai), tells McGarrett "Your bringing us down here, asking for our help, makes us sick." Paul Brechtman (Lee Paul) says, "In our book, you're no better than the man who fired at the general and killed Julian." Manning West (Dennis Cooney) adds, "You carry a gun. Anyone who carries a gun believes in killing. You are armed, therefore you are prepared to kill."
McGarrett lays on a heavy speech to them: "I don't feel any need to defend my position or my profession, but I'd like to mention a few names. John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King. And before them Mahatma Gandhi. Did you ever hear of them? There are dangerous animals in the world and some of them walk on two feet. They don't want peace and they're not capable of love. Society, and that means you and you and you and you, need protection from these warped minds. And that's my job. Now, you have every right to sing about peace, and march about it, and write about it. But what I just told you is the way it is, unfortunately. That's why we're armed."
After most of them leave the office, Carole Matthews (Jadeen Vaughan) tells McGarrett, "I think they're right. But they didn't have to be so rough on you. I'm sorry." She says, "I know that we came there today to demonstrate for peace, against violence, against death ... only we lost, didn't we?"
McGarrett continues with his heavy speechifying: "I abhor violence in any form. I think that violence breeds violence on any level. Every war, every riot, started with one individual act of violence. I'm a peace officer. Euphemism? Maybe. But I want peace more than anything else in the world. I hope you'll understand that, Carole. Try to. And try to help us."
Later that evening, as McGarrett is playing his guitar in his office, Danno drops by with a lead. In July, 1966, Julian was involved with a young woman, a cocktail waitress named Lannie May Devereaux. They were found nearly asphyxiated from gas, and it was suspected that she turned it on, though nothing could be proved. At the time, HPD also found a .38 caliber revolver in the kitchen of their place, the same kind of gun that killed Julian. It was later released back to Lannie May, who had a permit for it.
Shortly after, McGarrett gets an anonymous phone tip regarding the shooting. We only see the mouth and beard of the caller, but it is obvious that it is Brechtman, who says, "Things happen. Things aren't always what they seem. I can't tell you [what happened]. And I can't live with it either." Then he hangs up.
The next day, McGarrett goes to the print shop where Peace Magazine is put together. He gets a chilly reception. Ned Horvath (Stewart Moss) tells him, "We buried Julian this morning. Even so, he's very much with us right now. Please be kind enough to leave us alone." When McGarrett asks if any of them know Devereaux, West says, "Julian used to see her occasionally. She was a cheap little thing. Certainly not one of us. Julian saw something in her, I guess."
When McGarrett brings up the issue of the .38 revolver that Devereaux owned, suggesting that someone deliberately shot Julian, Horvath is incredulous: "Everybody loved Julian." McGarrett's response is a classic: "Lesson One -- nobody is loved by everybody." As he leaves, West tells him, "We've got nothing against you personally here. It's just what you represent that bugs us. You do understand?" McGarrett tells him, "I'm not even going to try."
Thanks to a tip from one of Chin Ho's relatives, Devereaux has been tracked down. She is living with a guy from the mainland named Vic Collins who is big trouble: he is wanted for suspicion of armed robbery and murder one, among other things. Danno and Kono go to Devereaux and Collins' place where Collins is shot dead during a confrontation.
Back at the print shop, West is snooping in a small locked filing cabinet on Julian's old desk. Horvath confronts him over this, and West tells him, "I was looking for some possible evidence that might help us in our investigation." The previous evening, they had agreed to hold their own investigation to see if one of them could have killed Julian. If they find anyone like this, as Horvath reminds West, the idea is "we turn him over to McGarrett without the publicity of a police hunt. And then no one would think we're fanatics or Commies or wild-eyed kids who didn't know what they're doing." West accuses Horvath of not wanting to find the killer, of being "afraid" of confrontation, that "It's always easier for you behind your typewriter. It's always easier for you not to act."
Horvath pulls out a letter which West wrote to Julian which he found while looking through this cabinet. West says, "This isn't evidence of much except my ... affection for him." Horvath says the letter also shows that West challenged Julian's leadership. West spits out, "You hated Julian. I loved him," to which Horvath replies, "But he didn't love you," saying that West fought constantly with Julian. When West says there was just a "difference of viewpoints," Horvath says, "What was your viewpoint when Julian stepped towards the general to hand him a copy of the magazine? Into the line of fire?"
At Devereaux' place, McGarrett grills Lannie about the revolver. She says she doesn't know where it is now, that Julian took it away from her because he didn't want her to have it. She says that someone tried to kill her and Julian three years ago by turning on the gas in their place. She says that Julian had quarrelled with someone from the magazine prior to this attempt on their lives. She also says that she saw Julian recently. "He came to say goodbye. That he knew now that he loved somebody else" who was Carole.
Danno and Chin go to a theater where Horvath is painting scenery. He tells them "We've got a play going into production next week. I've got a lot of work to do." When Danno asks if there is a .38 revolver as a prop in the play, Horvath tells them he doesn't know what they are talking about. Danno says that he heard Horvath had an argument with Julian the night before he was killed. Horvath tells them to get lost: "You want to talk to me again, I want an attorney. And you'd better come up with charges and evidence."
At the print shop, Brechtman and West break into Horvath's locker where a gun, likely the one used to kill Julian, is found. Rather than turn this over to McGarrett, the staff from the magazine decide to confront Horvath, to put him on trial for the murder of Julian.
They all go to the theater where West reminds Horvath the last time he met Julian, he was again "weak," because he didn't want to go to meet the general. When Horvath told Julian this, Julian was furious, saying that Horvath had let him down, that he felt betrayed. This browbeating of Horvath goes on for some time, with Carole finally saying, "What we've put Ned through just now is shameful," with the others reminding West that he said if any evidence was uncovered, he would turn it over to McGarrett. West agrees, and they all leave.
The next day, Horvath shows up at the print shop, but West forces him at gunpoint to drive away from the place.
Brechtman goes to McGarrett's office and admits he is the one who made the anonymous phone call. When Julian was shot, he saw West in the shadows across the street "pointing" towards the general. When McGarrett asks if he was pointing or aiming, Brechtman says "I didn't know. I wasn't sure. I didn't want to destroy everything we'd worked for by a wrong accusation.I thought if somebody among us would kill, maybe he'd kill again. Maybe even me if he suspected I'd seen him."
Brechtman figures that West has already shown up at McGarrett's office with the gun as per the end of the "trial" the night before, but this isn't the case.
West forces Horvath to drive him to an out-of-the-way location where there are steep cliffs near the ocean. He tells Horvath to jump to his death, so his suicide will look like he was the one who killed Julian, and the letter that West wrote to Julian will remain a secret. (West admits that he killed Julian.)
Five-O soon arrives on the scene, thanks to an APB. West is momentarily distracted by their arrival, and Horvath is knocked out. McGarrett chases West across some lava beds, eventually wounding him. West, who already gave some sanctimonious political blather to Horvath prior to his unsuccessful attempt to kill him, gives more of the same to McGarrett, who tells him that he'll have "a lifetime in an iron box" to think about what has happened.
McGarrett ends the episode with some blather of his own, when he tells Danno, "You know, the Chinese say all the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today. I think we got some pretty good seeds in those other kids, Danno, don't you?"