Young photographer Dennis Stock tries to pin down rising actor James Dean in order to give a LIFE magazine assignment more weight than that of a simple puff-piece. However, when Jimmy is not reluctant, he's chaotic, swept along by joy, play and mischief. And when Dennis is not annoyed, he's exasperated, trying to get the elusive Jimmy to focus-or even to show up.From the frenetic energy of New York, the two head back to the heartland-to the Indiana farm where Jimmy grew up-in order to record something of Jimmy's roots. Dennis thinks he's capturing a star in the moment before he breaks; in fact, he's documenting the last moments of intimacy and simplicity that James Dean will ever know. In the process of the journey from Hollywood to New York to Indiana, a deep affection and improbable friendship gradually develops between the two young men.