14-year-old Holly Nolan (Gina Philips) lives unhappily with her hyperjudgmental mother Donna (Talia Shire) and her brother Ted (Eddie Mills). To escape the pressures of her home life and make herself feel important, Holly begins hanging out with an older crowd, and in the course of events falls in love with 19-year-old Chris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) an Army reservist who has been disowned by his family. When Donna violently objects to Holly's romance with Chris, the couple elope and head off to Calfornia, certain that all they need to survive in the "outside" world is their love for each other. But it isn't enough: Repeatedly battered down by disillusionment and deprivation, Holly and Chris can't even return to her home town, where Chris faces charges for being AWOL--and, thanks to Holly's vengeful mother, for statutory rape. With apparently no other alternative, Chris resorts to the "easiest" way to stay alive, becoming a male prostitute on the mean streets of LA. Innovative direction and a driving musical score featuring such artists as Van Halen, Peter Himmelman, Lisa Cerbone and Sarah McLaughlin) helps sustain the viewers' interest and fascination in this sordid (but not sordidly told) made-for-TV movie. Born Into Exile made its NBC network debut on March 17, 1997.