The path to adulthood is littered with broken relationships. In the suburbs of 1920s Chicago two boys form an unlikely friendship. Spud Latham is slow at school but quick to fight and a natural athlete - Lymie Peters, thin, pigeon-chested and terrible at games, is devoted to him. As they graduate from school to college, tensions start to surface. It is Lymie who first meets Sally Forbes, but it is Spud she falls in love with. This signals the end of their friendship and the rift is almost more than Lymie can bear.