When he left the White House in 1989, Ronald Reagan was one of the most popular presidents of the century. A former Hollywood star and seemingly simple man, Reagan was consistently underestimated by his opponents. One by one, he overcame them all. Incorporating interviews with key political insiders, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, and members of the Reagan family, Reagan explores the man who saw America as a "shining city on a hill" and himself as its heroic defender. The program follows Reagan's life from his itinerant boyhood in Illinois to his battle with "communist agitators" in the Screen Actors Guild and his dramatic 1980 victory over Jimmy Carter. Only 70 days into his presidency, a would-be assassin's bullet left him more debilitated than anyone knew. Reagan's massive military buildup and bold challenges to the Soviet Union caused his critics to portray him as a trigger-happy cowboy. But he negotiated deep cuts in nuclear weapons and resolved to end the Cold War. Five years after leaving office, Reagan announced he had Alzheimer's disease and dropped from public view.