**SPOILERS** Not defending himself or proclaiming his innocence at his trial for manslaughter young Jimmy Wilson, Robert Lowell, is asked by the judge, Edward Earl,if he has anything to say before he mets out justice. With tears in his eyes Jimmy opens his mouth for the first time as he turns to the spectators and reporters, including his morn & dad, as says "I accuse my parents" for whatever crimes that I've committed. Stunned with disbelief we get the real low down to what caused Jimmy to turn out the way that he did a an hour long flashback that takes up almost the entire film.
Hollywoods attempt to explain juvenile crime back in the 1940's is no where as good as the films that came out of that town ten years later on the same subject like "Blackboard Jungle" and "Reble Without a Cause" in 1955 and the very underrated "Dino" in 1957. Still the movie is nowhere as bad as it's been made out to be over the years by it's many critics and detractors.
Jimmy was a very good student in high school and later had a good job selling shoes at a local loafer store in the neighborhood but his home life was a total wreck. Both his parents Mr. & Mrs. Wilson, John Milljan & Vivienne Osborne, never had any time for Jimmy with his mom an alcoholic and his dad never at home and always at some gambling den losing his money or carousing around at night looking for "action". Jimmy's troubles started when he met at the shoe store young an pretty Kitty Reed, Mary Beth Hughes, who was buying a pair of shoes from him and fell in love with her.
Kitty working at "The Paradise" nightclub as the top act also fell for the sweet and innocent Jimmy. Her boss nightclub owner and gangster Charles Blake, George Meeker, who was also in love with Kitty became very resentful of the young man and planned to use him, knowing that he'll do anything to be close to Kitty, as a pasty in his crime operations.
Ferrying stolen cash for the Blake Mob Jimmy hit's it big when he's asked to be a driver in a heist, that Jimmy had no idea about, at a warehouse robbery that Blake is planing. The robbery goes bad with an night watchman getting shot and killed by the Blake Gang. Even worse Blake has Kitty break off her romance with Jimmy telling her she'll never sing, or breath, again if she doesn't. Heartbroken and a fugitive from the law Jimmy is out on the lamb alone hungry and broke when he comes upon a diner and, with a gun in his pocket, plans to rob it; it's here where fate steps in and Jimmy's life turns around for the better.
Al, George Llyod, the short order cook and owner notices that Jimmy is a good boy who ended up with the wrong crowd as well as his intentions of robbing him. In an angelically kind and simple way Al talks Jimmy out of doing what he's got on his mind. Al not only shows Jimmy the kindness love and understanding that his parents failed to show him all these years.
Letting Jimmy live and work with him, Jimmy has a place to stay at the back of the diner, he for the first time finds the parental guidance that he needed. Later Jimmy comes to the conclusion, together with Al, that he'll have to come back home to face the music for what he did. Going to Blake's office, after he called the police to tell them he'll be there to turn himself in, Jimmy and Blake get into a violent struggle and Blake gets shot with his own gun.
With the flashback over the judge gives Jimmy a second chance and gives him two years probation, for killing Blake and his involvement in the warehouse robbery/murder. The movie ends with Jimmy together with his girlfriend Kitty and both his parents at last coming to their senses and finally realizing the trouble that they caused for there son by ignoring, and not understanding, his feelings and thus having him end up the way that he did. But thanks to Al and Kitty Jimmy has redeemed himself and paid for his crimes and is ready to go out and face the world a free man in both mind and body.