It's the Depression; we're greeted with scenes of men and kids jumping from train to train, standing in breadlines trying to get by. These kids are tough, world-weary brats with smart mouths but good hearts underneath. Jackie Cooper stands in line for soup and bread and gets himself a job working with Tubby (Andy Devine) as a dishwasher. What he lacks in manners he makes up for in hard work, and soon Tubby learns that this kid is Doc Allen's son, a medic he knew during the war. Tom (Cooper) carries his father's medal around, "But you can't eat it," he says. Tubby's respect for Doc Allen leads him to get Tom a scholarship to go to Culver, a military school where he can excel.
Tom takes time to warm up to the other kids, especially his roommate Bob (Freddie Bartholomew) but when he does he does wholeheartedly and soon he's a "gee whiz"-saying, uniform-wearing, cake-sharing member of the gang. And then Doc Allen shows up looking dazed and hungry to Tubby's station, and a wrench is thrown in the whole set-up.
If you like child stars and MGM's brand of idealism, you'll love this movie. It isn't a classic but it isn't bad, and it features some great stars.
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