A great depression grips the city of St. Louis in 1934. Stanley, an orphaned newsy, lives in a poor part of town hit especially hard by the economic downturn. One night, Stanley runs into Hazel, a restless debutante-in-waiting who has begun to question her posh lifestyle in the midst of the suffering she sees. She's out and about without an escort and against her father's wishes. When they discover the body of a girl with her head bashed in by a baseball bat, the very different and separate realities of the two teens inform their decision. Together they will figure out what happened to her and bring those responsible to justice. But getting involved with each other and digging into the secrets behind this murder earns them some powerful enemies, including a secret group seeking to rid society of all they deem undesirable. They've put into motion "The Winnowing," a plan seeking to take over the city and enforce their will. As Stanley and Hazel's forbidden feelings for one another grow, their investigation turns deadly. Now, it is up to Stanley and his gang of street kids to stop Hazel from becoming the next victim.