The Depression has ruined Henry Dafoe's life: his father has left the family farm to look for work, his mother is sick and now she's decided to send Henry to Nova Scotia to work on his uncle's fishboat. But Henry has other ideas. He runs away from home to join his father, which proves more difficult than he imagined. Alone and scared in a strange city, he befriends an old hobo named Clickety Clack, who agrees to take him to find his father. As they make their way across the country, Clickety Clack teaches Henry about the secret signs that hoboes use to communicate with each other.