The story takes place in the desert that used to be a lake. It dried up a century ago becuase it never rained. There in the middle of desert lies a correctional camp that takes in youth and makes them dig. Being sent here is Stanley Yelnats, becuase of the false crime of taking Clyde Livingstons shoes from charity.
The Camp often has bad and unfair living conditions. Not only that but the campers take thier time to accept Stanley into thier group. The counsolers do not work with fairness. They are bland in thier rules and work with favoritism. They dig all day in the hot sun for no particular reason and Stanley often comes with blistes and cuts. The counselers says its to build charcter,when in reality there is a whole other reason....
As Stanley and company dig more and more they start to uncover the truh of the correctinal camp. The vast desert that they dig up everyday used to be a overflowing lake. The first Stanley Yelnats was cursed by a seear named Madam Zeroni. He was promised a fat pig as offering to marry the women of his dreams,in exchange he takes her up the hill to drink the fountin of youth. But he was sadly declined and he didnt keep his promise to the great seear. Then a century later after the lake dried up came the infamous Kissin Kate Barlow.
At the climaz of the story Zero has attacked a counselor with a shovel and ran off into the desert. Shortly after that Stanley riddled with guilt runs into the forest after him. The campers then find out the real reason why they dig all the holes. To find Kate Barlows treasure buried hundreds of years ago. Later down the line it was declared that Zero was the one who stole the shoes and threw it down the highway, hitting Stanley and getting him convicted. Zero and Stanley make amends and head back to the camp for supplies and to find the treasure of Kate Barlow. They find the treasure but is caught by the counselors and a poisonous lizard nest. They stand completely still, praying that the lzards dont sink thier fangs into thier blood streams.
After a long night Stanley and Zero manage to get out of the hole alive. The attorney for Stanley Yelnats case comes to the camp to releive him for his innocence. During that Zero still had the treasure in his hands and as the Head Counseler(Kate Walker) tries to pry it away from him, miraculously Zero reads the name and it reads"Stanley Yelnats" in bold black letters. The property belonged to Stanley and he went home with Zero with the attorney general.
In the end both the boys got almost 2 million dollars each from the treasure. The counsolers were all arrested and charged with many diffrent felonies. Zero hires private investigators to find his mother. And Stanley invests into his fathers shoe company and he makes millions. The end cuts into a scene with all the Yelnats Family, Zeros Family and Clyde Livingston watching Clydes shoe sweet commercial.