Gene Forrester returns to Devon, the preparatory school he once attended, fifteen years after graduation. When Gene returns to the Infirmary to see Finny after his operation, he meets Dr. Leper is dragged in as a witness, but before any conclusion is drawn, Finny, still on crutches, leaves in a tear-filled rage.
Stanpole to the infirmary. Gene finds it hard to compete with Finny, but continues to improve. Gene learns that Finny will no longer be able to play sports; Gene cannot believe the news.
Others seem to think Gene caused Finny's accident, but Gene brushes off the accusations and no one pushes it. Brinker finally gets the truth about Leper out of Gene; Finny reveals that he's finished with his fake-war pretense.
Gene returns the next morning to apologize again. Gene returns to Devon and finds that the laxity of the summer session has been replaced by the strict rule of the regular masters. He then goes to the tree, which brings back memories of his time as a student at Devon.
He is a witness at Gene's "trial," testifying that Gene was responsible for Finny's fall.
The boys all graduate, and enlist in various safe branches of the military. This silent resentment builds until the end of the summer, when Finny insists that Gene leave his books to jump from the tree again.
Gene stops to visit him and confesses.