On a narrow cobbled street in a northern mill town young Harry Bernstein and his family face a daily struggle to make ends meet.
This is the true story of those harsh years, overshadowed by the First World War. Amidst the hardship and suffering, Harry's devoted mother clings to a dream - that one day they might escape this grinding poverty for the paradise of America.
But the regular pleas to relatives in Chicago yield nothing, until one day, when Harry is twelve years old, the family looks on astonished as he opens a letter which contains the longed-for steamship tickets. But the better life of which they'd dreamed proves elusive.
Deprivation follows them to Chicago - and for Harry, life becomes more difficult still as he finds himself torn between his responsibilities to his mother, and his first love...