London, 1913. 14–year–old Billy Bean is a thief. He's also a talented street performer, and he's picked up by Fred Karno's music–hall company. Then Charlie Chaplin leaves Karno for the movies, and Billy is sent to America to replace him.
Billy wants to work in movies, too, and it's not long before he gets his lucky break. But his luck runs out and the movie career goes badly. Soon he's on the streets again with nothing but his childhood skills and a cheeky grin to keep him from starvation.