Rodney Ropes, a young student at a boarding school near New York City, receives notice that his guardian, Benjamin Fielding, of New York City, has mismanaged Rodney's 50, 000 dollars, inheritance. Left penniless save for some jewelry which had belonged to his mother, Rodney leaves immediately for New York where he soon runs out of money and has to stay at the Newsboys' Lodging House. A visitor from England, hires Rodney for five dollars a week to work as an errand boy in a merchant's office, where he is falsely accused of stealing and his employer discharges him. Rodney's luck constantly changes as he struggles to return to the life he once knew. Along the way, he makes many new friends, faces many exciting and dangerous challenges, and learns a few lessons as well.