The story begins with Frank Baker, who is known as Pony after one of the boys in Boy's Town calls him by that name, so that you could know him different from his cousin Frank Baker. Pony lives in the Boy's Town with his mother, father, and five sisters, whom his mother always wants him to play with. Pony's mother is very overprotective of Pony, which makes her a bad mother when it comes to having fun. Pony's father has done some things that have given Pony the right to run away as well, but it seems to Pony that they were mostly things that his mother had put his father up to, and that his father would not have been half as bad if his mother had not influenced him. One day however, Pony almost loses all his patience after the way his father reacts to Pony being pushed down from third reader to second reader at school. That morning, Pony is asked by his teacher to read to the class, but because it is hot and because Pony was being lazy, he read very poorly despite the fact that Pony is actually a very good reader. His performance causes the teacher to push him down to the second reader. Before class is dismissed, Pony gathers his books and walks out of school towards home. His father advises him to go back to school that afternoon, which continues to upset Pony. Pony heads back to school that afternoon with a plan to run off as soon as school is over. At recess the boys hear word of Pony's plan to run away that very night. After school, the boys tell Pony how he must run away and how they will help him.