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Convicted New York racketeer Buck Caeser is awarded a suspended sentence on the condition that he remain a law-abiding citizen for a year. At the suggestion of his attorney, Jim Donahue, Buck becomes a supervisor at the Hudson Street Shelter boys' school. Buck's appointment is opposed by Hiram Krispan, the brutal superintendent of the school, who has been collecting money from philanthropic citizens and using it for his own purposes. Noticing the intolerable conditions at the school, Jim seeks out Beth Avery, a teacher whom Krispan had fired because of her compassion for the boys. When Beth tells Jim of Krispan's reign of terror, Buck rehires her, inspired by her visions of creating another Boys Town. Buck pours his own money into the school, and, among other things, he establishes a boys' hockey team. To dispose of Buck, Krispan joins forces with Mike Garvey, a rival racketeer. When Garvey learns that Buck has rented the Ice Palace for a hockey match with a local orphanage, Garvey secretly substitutes professional players for the orphans and challenges Buck to bet on the game. Garvey's plan incites Buck to violence, causing him to violate his probation and forcing him into hiding. In Buck's absence, Krispan resumes his despotic rule and orders Joey Richards, a sickly boy, locked in the freezer for punishment. When Joey dies from exposure, the boys revolt and sentence Krispan to death. Desperate, Beth calls Buck for help, and he risks his freedom to convince the boys to turn Krispan over to the law. On his way to prison to serve his sentence, Buck turns the school over to Beth and Jim and admonishes the boys to adhere to the path of law and order.