One hundred teenage boys (picked at random from a large pool of applicants) are chosen to participate in an annual walking contest called "The Long Walk". Each walker must maintain a constant speed of no less than four miles an hour, or he receives a warning. Warnings are given for a variety of other offenses, including assaulting another walker or deviating from the walk's set course. Walkers may "lose" warnings by walking for one hour without being warned. If, however, a Walker with three warnings slows down again, or breaks any other rule, he is shot by the soldiers monitoring the event from halftracks.