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Ed Brown, a hard drinking widower, has gradually become an island in his East Los Angeles automobile repair shop. His cantankerous nature and pessimism have alienated most of his neighbors, so he's very surprised when a young barrio resident named Chico walks in looking for work. Ed distrusts Chicanos, so he sends the young man packing, but Chico sneaks back in later. He cleans the garage and finds himself a place to sleep; when Ed sees this he concedes that Chico just might have some redeeming qualities, after all, and grudgingly agrees to hire him.