Jeff and Carrie Alexander leave the broken-down town of Seale, Alabama, and move to an East Chicago neighborhood in the hopes of giving their son, Jeremy, a chance at a better life. Jeff and Carrie never had the opportunity to earn an education; they hope Jeremy will one day be able to go to college and make something of his life. However, parents' plans can only take a child so far. As he grows up, Jeremy gets in with the wrong Chicago crowd. Initially, he had hoped to join the air force, but his hopes of military glory soon dwindle due to a missing birth certificate. Disgruntled as he watches his best friend enter the service, Jeremy gets mixed up in drug-dealing through odious criminal John Adam. Soon, Jeremy is involved in cocaine, prostitution, and cash. The criminal life might look glamorous in the movies, but Jeremy soon discovers his foray into Chicago's underbelly gives him nothing but trouble. As his parents' dreams slowly fade away, Jeremy must struggle to survive and find his path down a road full of potholes. Will he live to build a family of his own, or has his greed brought him nothing but permanent bad luck?