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In rural California during the hot Indian summer of 1964, four Chicano teens help Emily Spinoza, a white girl, run away from home amid a time of intense local anti-Mexican sentiment.

At the center of the coming storm is her champion, Marty Montmajour, the Whiz Kid, who is unaware that his Mission of Mercy will turn from an adventure to a life-and-death struggle.

Riding along with the excitement are Marty's comrades. Kenny Oseguera, the babe magnet of the group, that no girl or woman can resist. Maxey Ozuna, the irascible kid of the team, and the hippest, as quick with his wit as with his fist. And there's Adán Gonzales, the "Gnome Eye" -- The Evil One. The town rowdies consider him the most dangerous young man alive.

Marty's motive for helping Emily is simply to win her over, not to help her escape from her father. But soon events prove to be more complex than he or his friends have anticipated. The entire journey proves to be a trial of his character, as his shortcomings emerge and the situation comes to test his resolve, and challenge the dedication and courage of his buddies.

Attacked by wild boars and sadistic bullies and dogged by a mob led by Emily's father, our heroes descend into a harrowing climax that no kid in his right mind would have chosen.

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