Tex represented the first film adaption of a novel by "teen angst" specialist S. E. Hinton. Matt Dillon stars as Tex McCormick, an Oklahoma farm boy who drifts into bad company and a dangerous lifestyle after his mother dies and his father deserts him. His older brother Mason (Jim Metzler) struggles to keep his sibling on the straight and narrow, but he too has a cross to bear: his crippling lack of self-worth. Surprisingly, the film was produced by the Disney company, which heretofore had painted a more upbeat portrait of teen-age life. Dillon would go on to appear in two more Hinton adaptations, while Tex supporting player Emilio Estevez would show up in an additional three. S.E. Hinton herself appears in the small role of Mrs. Barnes, a schoolteacher.