Nick Tortano is an associate of local caporegime Sal Vitaglia. Nick wants to become a made man but has yet to be trusted enough for his first contract killing. As the Boston crime families wither, however, Sal is forced to consolidate his power and advance more men. Recognizing Nick as potentially useful soldier, Sal advises him to show more loyalty and respect to the family. Sal forces him to deliver an apology in order to smooth over relations with another gangster, Tony Matazano, whom he has insulted. Nick reluctantly delivers the apology, though his friend George, a local thug unaffiliated with the mafia, ridicules him for having to show respect to what he views as a contemptible person. Although Tony accepts Nick's apology, tensions remain high between them.