Ponyboy gets out of the cinema and starts to walk home. Pony is very good at school, but he never uses his head outside that building. His parents died, and now he lives alone with Darry and Soda, his brothers. He is in a gang called \"Greasers\"; they wear their hair long and dress in jeans and T-shirts. Suddenly four \"Socs\" (the other gang from Southwest Dallas) are crossing his way, knocking him down and scratching his face with a knife. But before they can do more, Darry and Soda and the whole gang comes. The Socs run away and Pony is helped. In the gang there are his two brothers, Two-Bit Mathews (the oldest and funniest guy), Dally Winston (from New York, the toughest, coolest and meanest guy) and Johnny Cade (a young small boy that has also been beaten by Socs once; since that event he always wears a blade with him).
This evening they go to a drive-in cinema. There they meet two socy girls, Marcia and Cherry. Dally first annoys them, but then Johnny and Pony send him off and when Two-Bit comes they talk with the girls nicely.
Suddenly a blue Mustang passes and two Socs get out. They are drunk and want a fight, but Cherry can convince them to drive Marcia and her home. It\'s half past two and Pony goes home. Darry is still waiting for him. After he yelled at Pony and kicked him, Ponyboy runs away from home and meets Johnny in the street. They decide to walk down to the park to cool off. There five Socs catch them and one shoves Pony\'s face into a fountain. He thinks of drowning, but Johnny draws his switch-blade and kills the Soc while the others run away. Now Pony and Johnny don\'t know what to do, so they run to Dally to ask him for an advice. He gives them a gun and 50 $ and tells them the way to an old church in the country where they should go to. The next morning Johnny gets some supplies and the text of \"Gone with the wind\" to pass the time. After a few days Dally comes with a letter of Soda. They drive to town to eat something and Dally tells them that they now have a spy, Cherry the Soc.
Johnny decides to go to the police, but first they drive up to the church again. When they arrive, the church is on fire and some children that were playing there, are still inside. Pony and Johnny run inside to rescue them, because they think that they burned the building unintentionally. They can save every child, but Pony has burns and Johnny a broken back. While the ambulance brings both to the hospital Pony tells Jerry, the teacher of the pupils, his whole story. When Soda and Darry arrive, Pony has been checked; he\'s okay and Dally has also not been hurt so badly, but Johnny is in a critical condition. Now the brothers go home and Ponyboy is welcomed by his friends. The next day he and Two-Bit go to the hospital to visit the injured. On the way they meet Randy, who was the best friend of Bob, the killed Soc. He just tells them that he won\'t come to the rumble that is set tonight at 7 o\'clock. First they visit Johnny. He will not be able to walk anymore. After that they go to Dally and give him a switch-blade. Before 7 o\'clock the Greasers meet at Pony\'s house and then they meet some other gangs that\'ll help them against the Socs. Exactly at seven the Socs show up. A Soc starts the fight with punching Darry. While everybody rumbles, Dally appears; he fled with the help of Two-Bit\'s knife. The Greasers defeat the others and Dally shoves Pony to Johnny. After the words \"Ponyboy stay gold\" he dies. Dally runs out and Pony walks home. When he tells all to his buddies, Dally calls. He is hunted by the police, because he broke into a grocery. The moment he meets the greasers, the \"fuzz\" comes, too. Dally jerks his unloaded gun and a cop shoots; he falls dead to the ground. For sure he wanted it this way, \'cause he lost his own real friend...Johnny. Ponyboys shock makes him faint. He wakes up 3 days later; he is told that he was in hospital by Soda, but Pony cannot remember anything. He has to stay in bed for the next week. One day Randy comes to visit him and Pony denies everything about Johnny that he killed Bob and that he\'s dead, because he thinks then the fact would not hurt so badly. Pony doesn\'t want to do his English homework, so he forces himself to finish \"Gone with the wind\" that he got from a nurse after Johnny\'s death. When he opens it, a sheet of paper with Johnny\'s handwriting falls out of it. He wrote that the rescue of the children was worth his death and that Pony should look after Dally. After an argument with Darry, he starts his homework. He knows that there are many boys like Johnny out there, and Pony knows that there are many guys out there that have the same fate as Dally and he wants to tell them his life. After thinking long, he begins his essay the same as the book \"OUTSIDERS\" begins.