It follows the three friends who are living in the East Los Angeles of 1972, Miklo (Damian Chapa), Paco (Benjamin Bratt) and Cruz (Jesse Borrego). The story centers on how is a violent crime and the affect of narcotics to their lives. Miklo is arrested and sent to San Quentin. Cruz, an exceptional artist, but sinks deeply into drug addiction. And Paco, a cop and an enemy, joins the military to avoid jail time.