Pablo, a young boy, is known as El Bola because of the good-luck stone he carries in his pocket. The charm is powerless, however, in the face of the violent and abusive environment in which he lives. Pablo's primary social activity seems to be playing chicken on the railroad tracks with similarly disaffected children. Fortunately, a new student, Alfredo, arrives at Pablo's school and the two become fast friends. Alfredo's family is warm, protective and colorful -- his father is a tattoo artist -- and Pablo's life is changed, as he is welcomed into a very different environment from the one he has known.