Summer, 1975: in a tight blue-collar Boston neighborhood, three kids Jimmy Markum(Sean Penn), Sean Devine(Kevin Bacon) and Dave Boyle(Tim Robbins), are playing when one is abducted and sexually abused for several days. Jump ahead: the victim, Dave, is haunted by memories and protective of his own son. Jimmy's an ex-con, father of three. Sean is a homicide detective, estranged from his pregnant wife. When Jimmy's teen daughter dies, Sean investigates, Dave's a suspect, and Jimmy vows to find the killer before the cops. The dead girl has a boyfriend whose long-missing father has a history with Jimmy. The boyfriend's a suspect, and when ballistics turns up a link to a gun owned by the young man's father, the case breaks. In the background, wives move events along.