When Luke Jackson is arrested for drunkenly vandalizing parking meters, he is sentenced to serve time on a prison chain gang. Although the warden, guards, and prisoners all try to break Luke's spirit upon his arrival, it soon becomes clear that Luke is not about to play by anyone else's rules. He eventually earns the respect of his fellow inmates by refusing to back down in a fight, and he earns their friendship by figuring out a way for them to get their hard labor done in half the time. Luke eventually becomes a symbol of hope and resilience for his fellow prisoners, but the more he becomes revered by the inmates, the more he becomes a symbol of rebelliousness that must be stamped out by the guards and the warden.
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