Sam Clarke is an orphan, forced to run the streets, but deep inside lurks burning ambition. He wants an education but, above all, he needs a new mum and dad to take care of him. After coming into contact with Lord Shaftesbury and the Ragged School Union, the first part of his dream starts to come true. Soon he is spending mornings polishing shoes at London's Crystal Palace while attending school in the afternoons. But will the dream turn to a nightmare when Sam's wicked uncle, Pineapple Jack, suddenly appears, or will the young shoeblack win through with the help of his friends?