During an annual treasure festival in the Sabine River town of Dix Knob, Texas, Teddy Nutscalder and his friends Mickey O'Dell and Tommy Crum scheme to help Missy, a beautiful high society girl, escape the lascivious advances of her criminal stepfather. The outliers face constant struggle in a declining quarry town with no prospects. Not only must Teddy deal with an abusive father and the haunting memory of his dead twin sister, he is incessantly stalked by the town bully. Mickey struggles to support his family after his father is imprisoned and is embarrassed by the fact his 17-year-old sister Brandy earns most of the family's income by dancing at a topless bar. Tommy is going blind and is desperate for a new treatment his family cannot afford. The boys first encounter Missy on a train trestle, contemplating suicide. She attends private Catholic school and has nothing in common with them. Teddy manages to talk her down and although initially rebuffed, he falls for Missy and is torn between her and his quasi-girlfriend, a sweet but dimwitted schoolmate. While earning a few dollars cleaning up Rick Blaine's Casablanca bar, the boys accidentally discover a hidden entrance into an adjacent condemned fraternity hall known informally as the Cusser Club. After breaching the heavily fortified building, they discover hidden passages used during prohibition and blithely lay claim to the long-abandoned property. All the while, metal detectorists from all over the country search for the lost 'Treasure 'O the Knob,' a hoard of rare gold coins that disappeared in a shootout between police and bandits during Hurricane Audrey a decade earlier. The community is electrified when several coins are uncovered, but festivity gives way to grief after Mickey is seriously wounded when he steps between Brandy and a gun wielding stalker. Teddy's father beats him severely and the town bully humiliates him during a romantic interlude with Missy. Resolving to overcome his timidity and cowardice, Teddy stands up to his father and sets a trap to wreck the bully as he rides a motorcycle through an abandoned sandstone quarry. Teddy's trap is only the beginning of the gang's problems: treasure-hunting, mafia violence, and a sabotaged political campaign make the boys grow up faster than planned.