In 1883, fifteen-year-old Ezekiel Harrington’s mother dies. His father abandoned his wife and son ten years earlier. It was his mother’s decision he move from their home in remote Nebraska to Philadelphia to live with relatives he has never met. When his relatives betray him and steal his mother’s small estate, he runs away, intending to forge a life of his own.
He begs and grovels to provide for himself and barely manages to eat and find a bed. Things take a turn when by chance he meets an old boyhood friend from Nebraska. His friend, Robert Henri, is now on his way to becoming an artist. Ezekiel takes up with Henri and Henri’s cadre of driven artists, including a young Bohemian woman who will forever change him.