The setting took place at Camp Green Lake, during the present time and summer season. Stanley Yelnats's family has a history of bad luck, thanks to their no-good-dirty-rotten-pig- stealing-great-great-grandfather! So Stanley isn't too surprised when he is sent to an all boys juvenile detention center, Camp Green.
Lake. The lake has been dried up for over a hundred years and used to be the largest lake in Texas. As punishment, the boys must each dig a hole a day, five feet deep and five feet across. There is only one rule at the camp and that is if you don't bother the snakes and scorpions, then they won't bother you. The worst thing is to be bitten by a yellow spotted lizard because you will die a slow painful death. .
At Camp Green Lake it is believed that if you take a bad boy and make him dig a hole every day in the hot sun, it will turn him into a good boy. Ms. Walker, who is the owner of the lake, claims that this pointless labor builds character, but she is really using the boys to dig for loot buried by the Wild West outlaw Kissin" Kate Barlow.
The main characters in this story are Stanley, Hector, Ms. Walker, Mr. sir, Mr. Pendanski and Ms. Morengo. Stanley is the boy who is found responsible for a crime that he didn't commit. Hector is Stanley's new best friend at Camp Green Lake. Ms. Walker is the owner of the lake. Mr. sir and Mr. Pendanski are the two helpers at the camp. Ms. Morengo is a patent attorney trying to prove that Stanley is innocent.
The problems in this story were that nobody believed that Stanley is innocent. Also, everyone at the Camp thought that Hector was stupid just because he was a different race. All the boys hated Stanley and Hector because they were best friends.
When Stanley realizes that the boys may not just be digging to build character, he realizes that in fact that Ms. Walker is seeking something specific. Stanley then goes and tries to find out what is really going on.