Runaways is Steve Moore's story. He's sixteen and lives with his younger sister, mother Cheryl and her boyfriend John, in a modest house in Bakersfield, California. An abusive and often intoxicated man, John rules the household, and though his attacks on Steve result in emergency hospital visits, Cheryl's loyalty is to her boyfriend. To protect her relationship with John, she "ditches" her son, having him arrested and locked in a correctional "mental" facility, before coercing her older brother Burt, who lives in Hollywood, to take him. Steve quickly discovers that Burt cannot even provide temporary lodging, but an administrator at his new high school directs him to a shelter for runaway kids where he soon learns to navigate his way. At the shelter which offers only a two to three month respite from the streets, counselor Tony Perez tries to provide guidance to Steve and his roommates Mike and Andy...