This morning my team over at Envy Labs released a free online tutorial called Rails for Zombies. The website combines screencasts with in-browser coding to provide an interactive learning experience teaching the basics of Ruby on Rails.
Learning Rails for the first time should be fun, and Rails for Zombies allows you to get your feet wet without any setup or configuration. At the moment the application has five episodes. Each episode consists of a single screencast followed by a group of exercises which must be completed before moving forward. Once you complete all the labs, you unlock a hidden video which shows you where to go to continue your Rails learning.
If you have any friends who need to get started with Rails, hopefully this will help.