The action of the play takes place the in borough of Staten Island in the mid-50s. Mrs. Boyd, a divorced practical nurse, makes a living by caring for terminally ill patients, moving from house to house with her sensitive, lonely, teenage son, Chris. As the play begins Mrs. Boyd and Chris arrive at the home of Mrs. Dipardi, who is dying of cancer, and whose profane, hard-drinking son, Floyd, has alienated the neighborhood by flaunting his fondness for young boys and throwing noisy backyard parties. Suffocated by his over-protective mother and rejected by his absent father, Chris strikes up a friendship with Harold, a young hustler who has moved in with Floyd, but their relationship, like the others in the play, founders on the pervading bitterness and alienation which, inevitably, bring on a series of explosive and emotionally charged confrontations. Eventually Chris, unlike the others, does find the self-awareness and courage to overcome his circumstances and, as the play ends, the suggestion is strong that he will, in time, come to terms with the "dragons" that have beset, and shaped, his troubled youth.