Sixteen year old Ricky Chavez is in trouble. Suspended from school, he has to face his older brother and legal guardian, Frank. Trouble is, Frank meets him with a belt. Bruised and depressed, Ricky drags himself to his evening job. His co-worker, Maria de Leon, reaches out to him, and he falls in love. Trouble is, she belongs to a gang. Being in love with Maria means hanging around Locos 18, her gang. Trouble is, that means ditching school and ending up with a report card full of Cs, Ds, and an F. But a bad report card is the least of Rickys troubles. Marias gang, Locos 18, comes in conflict with another gang, Westside Raza, when a Locos girl flirts with a Westside boy. When he beats her up, Locos goes looking for him. In the violent showdown, Ricky recognizes the conseequences of his association with Maria and Locos 18. Hes left with a decision. Trouble is, he doesnt like either one.