powered by AFI
When Audrey Barton, the teenage daughter of George and Ruth Barton, returns home from a date with boyfriend Tommy Burns, she and Tommy find one of her parents' parties in full swing and see Ruth kissing neighbor Henry Stevens. Audrey, who despises her parents for their materialism and their neglect, is almost ready to leave home. Audrey's two school friends, Mary Rubeck and Angela Forrest are in similar situations. Seventeen-year-old Mary lives with her very strict father who disapproves of her twenty-year-old boyfriend, Bob Harris, and fears that Mary is becoming like her mother, who abandoned the family. Angie, whose mother is almost never at home and is currently in Acapulco with her third husband, breaks up with her boyfriend, Joe, when he finds her too sexually aggressive. When Angie is visited by her older brother Tony, a con man, and his tawdry girl friend, Dixie Jackson, she lends Tony some money in the hope that he will take her with him when he leaves town. At school the next day, the girls discover that Tommy has told other students about Audrey's mother's indiscretion. Audrey becomes involved in a brawl when Maureen, one of the girls, taunts her about it. When Audrey informs her parents that, because of the fight, she will not be allowed to graduate that year, they are unconcerned. Audrey's mother even suggests that school is unimportant and that Audrey should really be looking for a suitable husband. Later, Angie introduces Audrey to Tony, but warns him that Audrey is jailbait. Meanwhile Bob, who has joined the army, tries to convince Mary to elope with him, but she is ambivalent about leaving her father and wants to wait. When Audrey's parents leave for a weekend, she agrees to go on a date with Tony and soon they are seeing each other regularly, until Dixie finds out and ends the relationship. Later, Ruth insists upon giving Audrey a birthday party in conjunction with one of their adult parties. Mary's father refuses to allow her to attend Audrey's party as he regards her parents as rich trash. When Tony and Dixie decide to leave for Los Angeles, Angie decides to follow them. On the night of Audrey's party, the adults take over the event and ruin it until Ruth spikes the punch with gin and the younger set joins in. Mary sneaks out to the party to meet Bob, but is seen by her father who follows her to the Barton house and assaults Bob. As the police arrive to break up the fistfight, Mary runs away with Angie. After the party ends, Audrey's parents unveil their present to her--a new convertible, which Audrey takes for a drive. She does not return and, after picking up Mary and Angie, the three runaways head for Los Angeles. Aware that the police will be looking for the convertible, they stop at a small town and steal another car. Once in Los Angeles, the girls stay at Tony's apartment and Dixie hires Audrey and Angie to work at the taxi-dance hall she manages. A week passes and Ruth and George, filled with remorse, hire a private detective to find Audrey. When Mary confides to Dixie that she is pregnant, the older woman helps her to locate Bob and Mary leaves to join him on a Baltimore army base. Dixie also tries to persuade Audrey to return home and warns her about Tony. The private detective tracks Audrey to the dance hall while the police search for Angie in connection with the car theft. After the police spot Angie driving the stolen car, she speeds away, and in the ensuing chase, loses control of the car and plunges off a cliff to her death. When the detective brings Audrey's parents to the dance hall, the sympathetic Dixie tells them that she may be able to reunite them with their daughter. After Dixie discovers Tony assaulting Audrey, she throws him out, then tells Audrey that her parents will be coming to see her. Soon after, Audrey returns to her now-reformed parents.