Inspired by the spirit of Abraham Lincoln, idealistic Jimmy Keenan (Jackie Cooper) runs a newspaper stand by day and attends law school at night. Powerful obstacles block his struggle to succeed. His parents are dead and his older brother, Tap Keenan (Dick Purcell), is a notorious gangster whose shady exploits tarnish the would-be lawyer's good name. Even so, Jimmy manages to care for a young orphan, "Gimpy" Smith (Martin Spellman). His charity greatly impresses Judge Carroll, and the magistrate becomes an important ally. Jimmy's life takes a dreadful turn, however, when Tap commits murder and flees to his sibling's basement apartment. As an ugly shootout erupts between the cornered criminal and the police, innocent "Gimpy" is shot in the deadly crossfire.
A child actor best known for the Our Gang shorts of the 1930s, Jackie Cooper was propelled to fame in 1931 when he starred in the dramatic comedy, Skippy, for which he won a Best Actor Academy Award nomination (the youngest actor to receive this honor). During the Depression, Cooper made several movies co-starring with Wallace Beery, including The Champ (1931), The Bowery (1933) and Treasure Island (1934).
After appearing in The Return of Frank James (1940), What A Life (1941) and a few other major studio productions, Cooper moved to television, starring in "The People's Choice" (1955-1958) and "Hennessy" (1959-1962). He also began a long career directing for television, highlighted by a 1973 Emmy Award for his work on the acclaimed series, "M.A.S.H." (1972-1983). Before Cooper retired in 1989, he played Clark Kent's editor, Perry White, in the Superman film series starring Christopher Reeve.
A young man runs a newsstand by day and attends law classes at night. Because he wants to pattern his life after the famous president, he has been given the nickname "Abe Lincoln of Ninth Avenue."