In the years of the trolley car, a game called Streetliner was played by packs of boys in crowded city neighborhoods. They yelled, they hooted, they hollered, they laughed. All were lean and tanned, scratched and bruised, in the prime of health. They played a game without ball or field, without coaches or spectators. They did not know how happy they were! More
As an Irish immigrant family settles into a working class neighborhood, the father takes on a job requiring heavy physical work. While the mother adjusts to life in her new country, she is left to raise her son and help care for his disabled cousin. Her energetic son, Tommy, on the brink of puberty, longs to join in the games of the older street boys, but is first required to complete a task demanded by their leader.
During a game of Streetliner, a gang from another neighborhood humiliates Tommy.
From his genes a surge of hormones gives Tommy the courage to fight back. He manipulates the game of Streetliner and dupes the gang into following the game into an unexplored territory, leading to the forging of new friendships.