Twelve year old Archie Crane has a dream to be reunited with his estranged father. Shining shoes in front of a hotel in a tough blue-collar town is the only way, but it'll take a lot of nickels and dimes for a bus ticket. Shining shoes is his first job and it's not easy fending off drunks and cheats. Archie has developed a tough exterior working the streets, but inside he’s just a lonely kid who seeks his father’s love. Archie doesn’t like his school and the kids at school don’t like him. His only friends are an old ex-vaudeville entertainer, Freddie Fox, a secretive Indian, Lyle Raintree, and Ma Belasky, a mysterious gypsy woman who runs the local café, a hangout for ex-cons and riff-raff. The mean streets get a whole lot meaner when Boogy, rink rat and bully, is determined to wrest the shoe-shine spot away from Archie by any means. After Boogy pushes him into traffic, Archie awakens in the hospital with two detectives at his bedside, very curious as to how a stolen gold coin ended up in his money can. One stolen gold coin is a curiosity, but when he stumbles upon 42, his simple world is turned upside down. The two cops catch gold fever, determined to find all the coins. Caught between holding stolen items and finding a trustworthy person to turn the gold into cash proves to be fraught with danger. As the walls begin to tumble and the police close in, Archie's hope of rejoining his father may only be a dream.
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