It is 1956. Immigrant janitor Johnny Vlakoz yearns for success. He also wishes to marry pretty tenant Maureen, who lives with her shiftless brother Red, played by James Garner. Maureen is set on marrying a rich man, so Johnny wants to be rich, and he attends night school while working two jobs. To learn English better, Johnny buys a book from a local shop, which turns out to be an almanac of America in 1997. Maureen's brother Red, a degenerate gambler, blows a horse racing tip Johnny gives him and inadvertently gives up Johnny's secret to a mobster. There's chasing and violence until a mysterious man from the future named B.O. Boyne, played by Charlie Ruggles, shows up to try to convince Johnny to sell the book back to him for the single dollar he paid for it. Maureen has other ideas, and Johnny is forced to choose.