Montreal, 1953. A group of poor teenagers try to escape their miserable destiny by selling American contraband cigarettes. Jack, their 21-year-old leader, handles the smuggling alone while all of them work together to cultivate customers and distribute the goods.

Mary is the only girl in the gang. Her quiet admiration for Jack slowly evolves into love. Biff, on the other hand, wants to get rid of him and take over, despite knowing the others are fiercely loyal to Jack. Soon Biff’s renegade activities attract the attention of the police, who stake him out and uncover the contraband operation. The gang is taken to the station. While the interrogations reveal little beyond what is already known, Biff has no qualms about asking for immunity in exchange for information.

Meanwhile, the police learn of a border patrol agent found dead in the woods the same day, the apparent victim of a shooting. They immediately suspect the gang and point the finger squarely at Jack. Subjected to the cop’s intense questioning, and thinking his own gang has sold him out, Jack admits to the murder. He is charged and taken to jail.

But Jack escapes from jail and finds Mary. They confess their love for one another. On the run from the law, the star-crossed teens vow to do everything in their power to evade capture and forge a new life together.