Still thought-provoking and moving after all these years, this earnest socially conscious and road-drama offers a realistic view that resonated with Depression-era audiences and offered them a message of hope with Roosevelt's New Deal,… More Still thought-provoking and moving after all these years, this earnest socially conscious and road-drama offers a realistic view that resonated with Depression-era audiences and offered them a message of hope with Roosevelt's New Deal, something most critics of the day found over-simplified and naive. The story centers on two California teens who find their once comfortable lives ruined when their fathers lose their jobs during the Depression. To find work for themselves, the adventurous lads sneak aboard a New York bound freight. They aren't gone long before they discover just how many lives have been devastated by the stock market crash Soon the two hook up with several other youths just like them, including two streetwise girls. In this way, the kids find much-needed solidarity. Tragedy strikes when a brakeman rapes one of the girls and the boys retaliate by killing him. The group makes it to Ohio when they are caught and forced off the train. Ingeniously, they begins using sewer pipe and other found commodities to build a little city, their own private utopia where no one has more than anyone else. More come to live there, but unfortunately some of the residents begin stealing from the nearby town and the authorities destroy the humble shantytown forcing the hungry, destitute youths to resume their trek. Another disaster strikes when one of their gang has a terrible accident. Soon afterward the group disbands so that only the original two and one of the girls actually make it to the Big Apple. By this time they no longer the opportunistic adventurers the once were; now they are only hungry, tired and deeply depressed. Desperate, they join a ring of thieves. Fortunately they are caught and sent to a kindly judge who lectures them and fills them with New Deal ideals and instills in them the sense of hope they will need to go on.