Twelve-year-old Tommy wants to be a cowboy, but what he really is, is a bully. Tommy starts acting out by making fun of other kids and stealing from the store. He does have a reason - things at home are not good for Tommy. His mom has been having mood swings ever since she gave birth to his little sister and when his older sister, Mary Lou, gets badly burned, things become worst.
Tommy feels bad for what happened to Mary Lou, since she was doing one of his chores. To help make amends, Tommy takes over Mary Lou’s paper route. Tommy is also trying to investigate his neighbors after finding a copy of The Daily Worker, a communist newspaper.
When Tommy is caught stealing from Mr. McKenzie’s store, he learns that he has to help at the store ever Saturday morning until his debt is paid off. Tommy is not happy about this and frames Mr. McKenzie as a communist by placing The Daily Worker on his counter. Things are starting to spiral out of control.
This is a preliminary nominee for the Mark Twain Award.