A well-used theme is overpowered by Garfield's supercharged performance as a slum kid emerging from imprisonment for a crime he did not commit. A product of his evil environment, Garfield is soon picked up for vagrancy and sent to a work farm, where he falls in love with the stepdaughter of the straw boss, a mean drunk. The girl, Lane, is the cause of her stepfather's wrath. When he dies, Garfield is labeled the murderer and he flees with Lane. The two are hunted down and Garfield is later tried but found not guilty of the farm boss's death. He is reunited with Lane and they begin a new life together. The story is worn out and so too were the antics of the Dead End Kids, but Garfield's forceful charisma is enough to hold attention. Lane is miscast, but Hale, as a truth-seeking editor, Grapewin, as a sympathetic brakeman, Armetta, as a lunchroom owner, and Olson, as the crusading defense attorney, all turn in yeoman performances; these were some of the finest character actors in Hollywood at the time and they carried many a vehicle beyond script limitations. Garfield did not like this role, one of three similar parts Warner Bros. compelled him to enact in 1938 and 1939, and it made him rebel against the studio and later decide to leave it.