Meg (Margaret) Terry is 15, almost 16 years old. Her natural talent for acting is extraordinary, a fact acknowledged by expert professionals. One of these, Gino Lucci, is director of a summer camp for talented young actors and actresses. During a talent hunt, he sees Meg in a school production. Impressed, he offers her a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, one of ten scholarships to the costly summer camp. But there's a serious catch. Scholarship winners must pay a room and board fee of $2000.
Meg's mother is a single mom who is self-employed as a seamstress with a limited clientele and even more limited savings. Even if she had the money for the fee, Mrs. Terry would be unlikely to pay it. Considering Meg's ambition to have an acting career nothing more than an impractical whim, she insists that Meg forget the camp and spend the summer working at a local marina, her usual summer job, to earn money to buy books and clothes for her last year in high school.
Determined to attend the camp and encouraged when she hears that the room and board fee has been known to be waived for needy but outstanding scholarship winners, Meg decides to take desperate measures to ensure that she will attend. Without considering the possible consequences of such a decision, she decides to run away to the city, a hundred miles from her village. There she knows a young woman formerly from the village, who, she believes, will take her in and provide the signatures on the documents required for admission to camp. However, her friend and the others who live with her are involved in highly questionable activities and Meg is at risk.