These hard-hitting, deeply felt stories follow straight arrows and outlaws, have-it-alls and outcasts, as they take stock of their lives and missteps and struggle to rise above their turbulent pasts. A salesman re-examines his tenuous relationship with his sister after she is brutally attacked. A house painter plans a new life for his family as he plots his last bank robbery. A drifter gets a chance at love when he delivers news of a barfly's death to the man's estranged daughter. A dissatisfied yuppie is oddly envious of his ex-con brother as they celebrate their first Christmas together. Set in a Los Angeles depicted with aching clarity, Lange's stories are gritty, and his characters often less than perfect. Beneath their macho bravado, however, they are full of heart and heartbreak.