In Jefferson Creek, North Carolina, the colors of autumn signal Friday night lights, and high-school quarterback Danny Shepherd is the main event. He and his friends, Shane and Taz, live for the present, where good-natured fun often turns into trouble. A simple-minded sketch artist named Aaron looks up to Danny and the others as his only friends. After his mother is hospitalized by her abusive husband, Aaron commits a desperate act he cannot fully grasp: the murder of his own father. The boys vow to protect Aaron by covering up the evidence, but one bad choice gives dark rise to another. As suspicion mounts and Danny struggles to hold on to a promising future, the four friends face the hardest test of their young lives, one that asks for the meaning of true loyalty.