Jesse Borrego plays artist Cruz
Bound by Honor
Miklo (Damian Chapa) is a man of mixed ethnicity who, before coming to live with his cousins, attacked his father. Miklo has a Mexican accent however, his white appearance (fair skin, blonde hair and blue eyes) from his White father has made him less accepted among the people of El Pico Aliso barrio, where they have all grown up. It has also earned him the nickname "Milkweed." On his return from juvenile hall, Miklo visits his mother, who is actually the younger sister of Paco's mother, and proves himself worthy for the gang when he performs an attack on a rival gang, Tres Puntos. His assault earns him a placa, a tattoo as a token of his membership in the Vatos Locos mate street gang. However, the Tres Puntos gang soon takes revenge by brutally attacking Cruz and damaging his back for life. When Vatos Locos learn of the attack, they perform a well-planned counterattack ending dramatically with the murder of the rival gang's leader (Spider). While trying to escape, Miklo and Paco (Benjamin Bratt) are apprehended by the police.
Their three paths diverge: Miklo is sent to San Quentin State Prison for violating his probation, Paco volunteers for military service in the United States Marine Corps (see deferred adjudication) and Cruz (Jesse Borrego) becomes a heroin addict. His addiction leads to him being disowned by his family after his 13-year-old brother Juanito dies of an accidental overdose on Cruz's heroin supply. Paco becomes an L.A.P.D. narcotics detective after leaving the Marine Corps.
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