The film stars Christopher Walken as Brad Whitewood, Sr., the leader of an organized crime family consisting of his brothers and close friends. One night, his estranged oldest son, Brad, Jr. (Sean Penn), contacts him after a fight he had with his mother's boyfriend. Eventually, he becomes involved with his father's criminal endeavors, resulting in starting his own gang with his brother, Tommy (Chris Penn), and friends. The boys get excited at the idea of easy money and decide one night to attempt a daring heist, which results in their arrest by the police. Their father believes that his sons and their friends will inform the police about his criminal activities, so he rapes Brad's girlfriend, Terry (Mary Stuart Masterson), as a warning to his eldest son. The attack results in the opposite effect as Brad, Jr. begins informing the authorities about his father's activities, including a murder of a snitch he witnessed. When the father's name is given to the grand jury by his own son, Brad, Sr. feels his only recourse is to eliminate every witness that can connect himself and his crew with his sons and their crew, and he has them killed one by one. He murders Tommy himself, but orders a hit against Brad, Jr. and Terry. Terry dies, but Brad, Jr. survives and is able to testify against his father.
|Sean Penn||Brad Whitewood, Jr|
|Christopher Walken||Brad Whitewood, Sr.|
|Mary Stuart Masterson||Terry|
|Chris Penn||Tommy Whitewood|
|Tracey Walter||Uncle Patch Whitewood|
|David Strathairn||Tony Pine|
|Candy Clark||Mary Sue|