Chapter 4 Summary

Ponyboy and Johnny are heading home through the park when they hear a car horn. It comes from the blue Mustang, the one that picked up the girls. Five Socs get out and drunkenly approach Ponyboy and Johnny. They grab Ponyboy and dunk him in the fountain, holding him under so long he thinks he is drowning.

Moments later Ponyboy wakes up on the ground beside the fountain, coughing and shivering. Johnny is sitting beside him, big-eyed and pale. “I killed him,” Johnny says. “I killed that boy.”

Bob, the handsome leader of the Socs, is lying dead on the ground. Johnny explains that he stabbed Bob in self-defense; the Socs were drowning Ponyboy and preparing to beat Johnny up like they did before. When Bob went down, all the other Socs ran. Ponyboy listens to the story and panics. He throws up and falls into a fit of screaming. Johnny shakes him and makes him calm down.

Johnny says that he and Ponyboy have to get out of town. He decides they should go to their friend Dallas for money, a gun, and a plan. The boys know Dallas is at a party, so they go knock on the door. Dallas listens to the boys’ story and congratulates Johnny for killing a Soc.

Although Dallas is cold and ruthless, hardened by his rough life, he is also proud and loyal. He helps Ponyboy and Johnny without hesitation and without mentioning the legal repercussions he might face as a result. He finds dry clothes for Ponyboy, and he gives Johnny money and a gun. He instructs the boys to take the train out to the country and wait in an abandoned church he knows. When Dallas mentions that he never thought he would get “mixed up in a murder rap” outside New York, Johnny makes a little noise and shudders.

As Ponyboy and Johnny jump into a boxcar and ride out of town, Ponyboy tries to convince himself none of this is happening. Wishful thinking does not help, however, and he has to figure out what to do next. When the boys arrive at their stop, Ponyboy goes alone to find out how to get to the mountain with the church where they are supposed to hide. He combs his hair and tries to look less like a hood, but he knows his clothes and hair give him away. When he finds a farmer, he asks for directions, pretending that he is just a kid playing army. He finds out where to go, and he and Johnny find Dallas’s abandoned church. They flop down on the floor and go to sleep.