Based on the genuine educational encounters of writer Jimmy Santiago Baca, the film centers around stepbrothers Paco and Cruz, and their bi-racial cousin Miklo. It opens in 1972, as the three are individuals from an East L.A. pack known as the “Vatos Locos”, and the story centers around how a fierce wrongdoing and the impact of opiates change their lives. Miklo is detained and shipped off San Quentin, where he makes a “home” for himself. Cruz turns into an extraordinary craftsman, however a heroin dependence conquers him with terrible outcomes. Paco turns into a cop and a foe to his “lewd”, Miklo.