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Above the town of Monterey on the California coast lies the shabby district of Tortilla Flat, inhabited by a loose gang of jobless locals of Mexican-Indian-Spanish-Caucasian descent (who typically claim pure Spanish blood).
The central character Danny inherits two houses from his grandfather where he and his friends go to live. Danny's house, and Danny's friends, Steinbeck compares to the Round Table, and the Knights of the Round Table. Most of the action is set in the time of Steinbeck's own late teenage and young adult years, shortly after World War I.
The following chapter titles from the work, along with short summaries, outline the adventures the dipsomaniacal group endure in order to procure red wine and friendship.