Deputy Stuart Kofer is a protected man. Though he's turned his drunken rages on his girlfriend, Josie, and her children many times before, the police code of silence has always shielded him. But one night he goes too far, leaving Josie for dead on the floor before he passes out. Her son, sixteen-year-old Drew, knows he has only this one chance to save them. He picks up the gun and takes the law into his own hands. In Clanton, Mississippi there is no one more hated than a copy killer - but a cop killer's defence lawyer comes close. Jake Brigance doesn't want this impossible case but he's the only one with enough experience to defend the bot. As the trial begins, it seems the gas chamber is inevitable for Drew. But, as the town of Clanton discovers once again, when Jake Brigance takes on an impossible case, anything is possible.