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Tom Lincoln, Pig, String, Ape and Rap, five young hoodlums who live by their wits, are thrown off a freight train in the California fruit fields. At an intinerant camp, Tom and Pig steal a meal from Millie who is living there with her aunt and uncle. That night, the boys are arrested for vagrancy after a scuffle at a crap game. Impressed by Pig and Tom's work, the sheriff finds the boys a job at Mama Lisa Posito's ranch. There Tom learns that Mama yearns for her long-lost son and decides to pose as the boy in order to steal her money. Learning of the ruse, the sheriff warns Tom that he found the dead body of Mama's son years earlier, but is unable to dash Mama's hopes by telling her the truth. Soon afterwards, String, Ape and Rap are released from jail and Mama gives them work at the ranch, and Tom sends Mama's foreman Salvatore to offer Millie and her family jobs. As Pig searches the house for Mama's bankroll, Tom is won over by Mama's kindness and generosity and finds himself unable to steal from her. Troubles beset Mama however, when she refuses to comply with the growers' association demand to cut wages. In retaliation, the association begins a truck boycott against Mama, preventing her from transporting her crops to market. When Mama hires trucks from Sacramento, the growers block the roads leading to Mama's ranch with hired trucks. Just as the crop seems lost, Tommy takes Mama's bankroll to bribe the truckers to leave and then organizes the pickers to force the remaining trucks off the roads with tractors and insecticide. As Tommy breaks through the barrier to drive the crops to market, Mama confides to the sheriff that she knows that Tommy is not her real son, but has become like a son to her.