In the neocortex of 6-day-old rat, abundant axon terminals which exhibit specific catecholamine fluorescence are found in all regions and throughout all cortical layers. The overall density of axons in 6-day-old cortex in similar to the density in the adult cortex. In immature cortex, there are two distinct fluorescent plexuses, both presumably noradrenergic, one in the molecular layer and another in the lower half of the cortex. The superficial plexus is composed primarily of horizontal fibers, and the deep plexus of a dense feltwork of obliquely oriented fibers suggestive of a terminal field. The cortical plate itself is traversed by a few vertical processes. Following lesions of the midbrain tegmentum no fluorescent axons are seen in cortex, providing evidence that the fluorescent axons in cortex arise from brain stem neurons. The deep and superficial plexuses can be differentially visualized depending on the histochemical techniques employed and on pharmacological treatment, such as loading with a monoamine congener. Both deep and superficial axons are shown to contain endogenous catecholamines but those fibers in the deep plexus are filled to far less than their maximum capacity. The pharmaco-histochemical differences between axons in the two plexuses suggest that there may exist two distinct catecholaminergic projections to lateral neocortex. The demonstration of an extensive cortical monoamine innervation early in ontogeny supports the possibility that monoamine neurons play an important role in information processing and/or developmental interactions in the immature brain.