Fifteen-year-old Sue Bradley (Juliette Lewis) has not had an easy life: her stepfather abused her and her mother abandoned her. Matters go from bad to worse, however, when she takes up with unprincipled hustler Billy Canton (Brad Pitt), who gets her involved with alcohol, drugs and prostitution. Amy is befriended for a while by a kindly Army sergeant, but he breaks off the relationship when he realizes how young she is. Billy persuades Amanda to take revenge, and after a drugs and alcohol binge, they kill the sergeant. When the law catches up with them, Amanda finds herself on trial for murder, the penalty for which - even for a teenager - is death.