There are several events in The Outsiders which should be highlighted as the most important. They are listed below in chronological order.
1. Ponyboy, a "greaser" is attacked by a group of "Socs," wealthy teenagers who are the enemies of the lower class greasers. Ponyboy is rescued by his two brothers and friends, all of whom are greasers. This scene introduces the protagonist and his allies and demonstrates the main conflict between the greasers and the Socs.
2. Ponyboy and his greaser friends, Johnny, Dally, and Two-Bit, meet two Soc girls, Cherry and Marcia. Ponyboy, Johnny, and Two-Bit get along well with Cherry and Marcia until their aggressive Soc boyfriends, Bob and Randy, threaten the three greasers. This forces Cherry and Marcia to leave with Bob and Randy. This scene introduces two Soc characters who are not unkind to the greasers, but also further illustrates the barriers that exist between the greasers and the Socs.
3. When Ponyboy comes home late, he gets into a fight with this brothers. The oldest brother, Darry, strikes Ponyboy, causing Ponyboy to run away from home. Soon after he leaves home, Ponyboy encounters Johnny, a meek greaser of relatively small stature. Ponyboy and Johnny are attacked by Bob, Randy, and their Soc friends. In the ensuing fight, the Socs try to drown Ponyboy and Johnny kills Bob.
4. Dally, the toughest greaser, helps Johnny and Ponyboy hide to escape being convicted for the murder. When Dally visits Johnny and Ponyboy, Johnny decides to turn himself in. On the way back home, Dally, Johnny and Ponyboy see a church on fire. When Johnny and Ponyboy find out that children are trapped in the church, they run into the church to rescue the children, but Johnny is badly injured. However, Johnny will be charged with manslaughter for killing Bob.
5. Back home, Randy makes peace with Ponyboy and states that he will no longer fight the greasers. Cherry has become an ally of the greasers against the Socs. But despite this progress, a fight, called a "rumble," has been scheduled between the greasers and the Socs over the murder of Bob by Johnny. Johnny, meanwhile, is not recovering from his injuries.
6. In the greaser-Soc fight, the greasers win. Soon after the fight, Johnny dies. This causes Dally to run off. Later that night, Dally calls the greasers, but they come only in time to see Dally being gunned down by policemen.
7. At court, Ponyboy is acquitted of responsibility for Bob's death. Ponyboy is depressed, however, and often fights with Darry. An outburst from Sodapop helps to mend relations between the three brothers.
The mood of the novel is characterized by loneliness, misunderstanding, and confusion. The greasers, isolated from the rest of the society, feel lonely and misunderstood. Both the greasers and Socs are confused by their labels of "greaser" or "Soc."
The mood also contributes to the portrayal of the Oklahoma neighborhood in which the story takes place. By helping to flesh out the setting, the mood helps make the story more believable.