A lovable reform school grad, desperately seeking a fresh start in a small town, unwittingly becomes an accomplice in a murder committed by the most popular kid in town.
One is Josh Walters, star athlete, "A" student, Sunday school teacher - and also a closet gay homophobe from an evangelical family. Josh talks Ethan into joining him to case the rural house of a reputed gun collector, drug dealer and predatory homosexual. Ethan looks on in sickened astonishment as Josh shoots the man then chops his head open with a hatchet.
Ethan is convicted as an accomplice. In prison he surmounts the loss of his girlfriend, abandonment by his parents, and a brutal corrections system while his aunt wages a courageous fight to free and redeem him.