Dally is Johnny's hero but not Ponyboy's. What does that say about all three boys in The Outsiders?
Dallas Winston, despite his relatively young age, is a larger-than-life character in The Outsiders. He is tough, has a long jail record, and uses his fists when necessary. Dally believes that being "hard" is the best way to get through life. This appeals to Johnny, who rarely stands up for himself--at home or on the streets. He somehow envisions Dally as one of the chivalrous Southern gentlemen who rides into death; or, in Dally's case, takes the rap and goes to jail in the place of Two-Bit. In the end, there is nothing gallant about Dally's death. Pony sees Dally more clearly: He is cold and full of hate, and Pony doesn't like Dally; he merely tolerates him because of Johnny. As Pony tells Johnny,
"Shoot, he ain't got any more manners than I do. And you saw how he treated those girls the other night. Soda's more like them Southern boys."
Dally may be a hero in Johnny's eyes, but Pony looks up to his brother, Soda, and even Darry, when it comes to hero-worship.