Ponyboy Curtis is a young greaser at 14. One night while walking home from the movies he is jumped by Socs in a red Corvair. This signals the beginning of a Greaser versus Soc uproar.
Dally, Johnny, and Ponyboy meet two Soc girls, Cherry and Marcia at a drive-in the next night. Cherry and Ponyboy go out to get more popcorn and soda and find that they have a lot in common. Ponyboy ends up being home late. His brother Darry is upset at him when he arrives and hits him. Ponyboy rushes back to the lot and tries to run away with Johnny. A group of Socs jump them and try to drown Ponyboy as they blow off steam at a park nearby. Johnny kills the Soc but they end up having to flee to Windrixville.
Johnny and Ponyboy hide out at a church above Jay Mountain. They stay for about 4 days and have to bleach and cut their hair. After about the fifth day Dally visits them and takes them to Dairy Queen where they catch up. When they reach the church they find that it is on fire! Johnny and Ponyboy go into the burning church to save trapped children. The children make it out safe but Johnny and Dally end up having to go to the hospital.
We're not all that different
Things get heated up between the Socs and Greasers after Johnny killed the Soc. So much so that there ends up being a rumble. Sadly, Dally and Johnny are in no condition for a rumble with Johnny having a broken back and third degree burns. Surprisingly, Parry makes it to the rumble and the Greasers win! Darry and Pony go to tell Johnny about the rumble and he dies! Darry is overwrought and robs a store and is killed by the police while running away!
Ponyboy's grades start to slip and his English teacher asks him to stay later after class. His teacher asks him to write a theme about his ideas and experiences. At first it was difficult for Ponyboy to think of something to write about, but at the right time and place he figured out what to write.
Ponyboy realizes that people are too quick to judge and that Greasers and Socs aren't that different. Johnny teaches everyone that life goes on and too quickly so enjoy it while you can.