Modified from CliffsNotes
The rumble between the greasers and the Socs is set for 7 p.m. that night. Pony slams down five aspirins while no one is looking; he is still successfully hiding his illness. Still apprehensive about the rumble, Pony questions everyone's motivation for the fight: "Soda fought for fun, Steve for hatred, Darry for pride, and Two-Bit for conformity." Pony can only think of one good reason to fight — self-defense.
As the greasers gather together at the vacant lot, Pony compares the other greasers to his own gang. His gang never uses weapons and has never really hurt anyone. Pony realizes that they (his gang) are not hoods, and they don't belong with this group of future convicts. Ponyboy realizes that, unlike these hoods, Darry has the potential to be successful in life. Pony wants to be like Darry.
When the Socs gather, Darry steps forward and says, "I'll take on anyone." One Soc steps forward and says hello to him. It is Paul Holden, a former buddy who is now in college, while Darry has to work for a living. Just as the rumble begins, Dally shows up. Able to fight with only one arm, he announces that a rumble can't happen without him. The Socs lose the rumble because they run first. Everyone in Pony's gang is banged up, but the greasers win and that is all that matters.
Dally grabs Ponyboy and says that they have to quickly go to the hospital because Johnny is dying. Ponyboy isn't feeling very well himself. He is still sick and has been cut and bruised. When they are stopped by the police for speeding, Dally is able to point to Pony and say that he is rushing him to the hospital. The police officer believes him and escorts them the rest of the way.
Dally and Ponyboy make it to the hospital in time. Johnny is dying and is not impressed that the greasers won the rumble: "Useless . . . fighting's no good." He asks to speak to Ponyboy, and, leaning over him, Johnny's last words are "Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold."
When Johnny dies, Dally bolts out of the room and takes off running.