After Johnny and Ponyboy were attacked in the park by the Socs, Johnny was forced to stab Bob Sheldon, who was trying to drown Pony. They knew that no one would believe their story; the other Socs, they believed, would claim that Johnny had killed Bob for no reason. So, they decided to leave town and hide out until things had cooled off. They hunted down Dally, who was at Buck Merrill's house, and told him what had happened. Dally, though worried, was proud of Johnny and Pony, and he had a plan. Dally had already discovered a great hideout in case he was in a situation similar to his friends': He told them to hop a freight train and take it to Windrixville, where there was an abandoned church just outside of town. Before Johnny and Pony left, he gave them some money and a pistol for protection. They followed his instuctions, and they hid inside the church until Dally came to see them after nearly a week. By the time Dally arrived, Johnny had decided to return and turn himself in and hope for the best. The church fire, and the boys' heroic actions in saving the children trapped inside, made it much easier for Ponyboy upon his return. For Johnny, the burns and injuries he received proved to be fatal, but he died knowing he'd saved the innocent children inside.
At first Ponyboy ran away from the house because his older bro. hit him. Then Ponyboy stabbed and killed Bob for trying to drown Jonney. Then they ran away in fear of bein arrested by the cops and going to jail. The rumble was important to both gangs because the Greasers are trying to prove they are just as good as the Socs. The Socs are trying to prove they are better than the greasers. Please mark me the best answer. I'm trying to earn points. : )