A boy, Eric Wilson, befriends another boy, Philip Craig, a troublemaker who rescues Eric from some bullies, who himself is the victim of rape by his older brother. One day Philip gets into an argument with a schoolgirl who has come upon them loitering in a park. She criticizes them, calling them scum, when she sees Philip vandalizing a park sign with a box cutter. Philip approaches her and starts slashing at her forearms with the knife for insulting him. He then grabs the girl and drags her down under a bridge above a small creek bank. Philip drops the box cutter; we see Eric pick it up, and follow them under the bridge. The girl is killed; the film does not show who kills her. Philip dies in prison. It is assumed to be suicide, but Eric has dreamt that he was killed by other prisoners. After being released from prison, guided by rehabilitation worker Terry, Eric, shy and eager to be good again, builds up a new life under the name Jack Burridge, not revealing his identity. He finds a job, befriends his colleague Chris, falls in love with female colleague Michelle, and even rescues a little girl after a car crash. An article in a local newspaper presents him as a hero, with photograph. Jack wants to be honest with Michelle and reveal his past, but Terry urges him not to do that because it is too dangerous. People may attack him because there is a reward of 20,000 for finding him. Terry argues that it is not dishonest because Eric is history, Jack is a new person. The rehabilitation worker is less satisfied with his son than with Jack. The son finds out that Jack is Eric from newspaper articles about Eric being released and about Jack the hero, the fact that his father once accidentally calls him Jack, and information he looks up without permission on his father's computer. Out of jealousy he reveals this to the public. As a result Jack is fired, and his best friend Chris distances himself from him. Michelle goes missing, and people suspect Jack to be involved. Jack repeatedly tries to phone Terry but gets his voicemail. He flees from his home to avoid reporters and travels to a seaside resort. There he meets or fantasizes he meets Michelle, who tells him she was not the one who revealed Jack's past and leaves. After saying farewell messages in voicemails to Terry and Chris, the film ends with Jack standing on the edge of a pier and it is unclear whether or not he jumps and commits suicide.