"Shuffle" Smith, a blind man, makes his way down the darkened streets of Manhattan. Smith delivers the floor plans of the wealthy Mister Gilligan's home, to "Rocky". Alone in his home, Smith reveals that his blindness is a ruse. Smith reads about the upcoming execution of Kid Kitchen. That very night, Kitchen escapes death row, and prison. A trio of newspaper boys plan a caper of their own. Smith sees Kitchen on the street, and drops a dime on him. Kitchen is accosted by a young boy, searching for his lost dog. The newsboys break into Gilligan's home. Gilligan recognizes one of the boys, young Jimmy O'Neil. Another boy, Spike, bludgeons Gilligan from behind, with a blackjack. Fearing that Gilligan is dead, the newsboys flee.
In the interest of dodging the police, Kitchen escorts the boy through the city, in search of the lost dog. Along the way, Kitchen's conscience begins to eat at him, bringing forth deep regrets over his criminal life. Visiting a fortune teller, the boy is heartened to learn that he will be reunited with his dog, Kitchen's future, however, is much grimmer. Kitchen leads the boy into a wax musuem. There, the boy finds his lost dog, Clown. The police catch up with Kitchen. Guns are drawn, but Kitchen stays his hand, for fear of hitting the boy. Kitchen is gunned down, by the police, collapsing onto a wax statue of the electric chair. Kitchen has died as reported, in an electric chair, precisely at midnight. Believing that Smith sold his information to a third party, in the aftermath of the robbery, and attack on, Gilligan, Rocky attacks Smith on the street.
The assault causes Smith to truly lose his sight. The newsboys confess their crime to the police. Gilligan appears, quite alive. The newsboys renounce their criminal ways. Gilligan offers them all honest work. O'Neil tells his mother not to worry about him going down the wrong path. O'Neil's mother reveals that Kitchen is O'Neil's real father. O'Neil, however, already knew, which led to his adulation of the criminal life. The next morning, street cleaners sweep up the detritus of the night. Elements of each player in the story can be found in the same trash can, symbolically depicting the connections between these seemingly random characters.