In a company-owned tiny logging town in Washington state, high school student Neil Krondahl earned the reputation as a "Renaissance man" for his varied academic and athletic talents. He also earned the name "Artful Forger" because of his sign painting and other artistic skills. But as a member of the National Guard in the mid-1930s, Uncle Sam activated his unit before he could graduate and get a promised university football scholarship. Then Uncle Sam discovered his artistic potential and sent him to Cooper Union art school in New York. The Army secret services wanted to prepare him there to forge German money and documents as a way to sabotage the growing Nazi power.