Orphaned at a cruelly young age, little Hugo Dinsmore is torn from his pampered life and plunged into the nightmare world of brutish country relatives, a world where his refined ways and small stature are a constant source of mockery and torment. Survival means learning to be sly, and Hugo soon finds his talents for retribution and petty thieving. His pure singing voice soon brings him to the attention of the Eggman, a much-feared local gangster who gets Hugo to perform for him and his cronies at their late-night poker sessions. Hugo becomes a well-dressed mascot, travelling with the Eggman and his enforcers in the back of a pink Cadillac. Gradually he breaks away from his old, wretched life, but as the Eggman's grip tightens and a criminal price must be paid for all the fine clothes, Hugo decides to make a spectacular and hazardous break for freedom.