A 14 year-old boy named Chappie runs away from home after he is threatened with prison for stealing a coin collection from his mother to pay for his addiction to "weed". Chappie crashes with Russ, his 16 year-old friend who lives over a video store in upstate New York. Bikers soon invade their apartment, and Chappie is thrown into a life of crime as Russ steals electronics from the bikers who are warehousing stolen goods. Bruce, the biker whom Chappie likes most, discovers Russ's cache of VCRs and ties up Chappie, intending to kill him later. Russ discovers his friend and releases him, not before the boys accidentally set the apartment on fire.
Chappie's Huck Finn-like adventure continues with the boys breaking into an unoccupied home in the mountains. Chappie takes on a new identity and name, "Bone", fashioned after a skull and crossbones tattoo he acquires. As an alienated teenager, he observes society and discovers the "Rule of the Bone".
Bones life takes a new turn as he meets I-man, an aged Rastafarian, an illegal Jamaican immigrant, who is now living in a deserted bus. Bone accompanies I-man back to Jamaica and learns native Jamaicans' core values as he helps the aged philosopher raise his children and observes his real father who deserted him when he was five years old.
"Rule of the Bone" is told first in the voice of a druggie, then a Rastafarian, and finally as an ordinary teenager.
This synopsis report prepared by B.J. Korson