Cast & Crew
After attempting to break out of their reformatory, gang members Tom, Pig, Ape and String are brought before parole officer Cathy Crookshank. The orphaned sons of gangsters, the boys tell the superintendent that they have little chance of being paroled, as they have no one to sponsor them. Miss Crookshank has the leader of their fathers' gang, Valentine, brought to her office after his release from prison. The gangster argues that he has reformed and is now living on a farm with his wife Molly and their daughter Patience under the name "Ryan." When he learns that the boys are the children of his old gang, however, Valentine agrees to take them. Pesty, a junior member of the gang, is taken in by the ex-gangster as well. The would-be mobsters are dismayed when they are delivered not to the city streets in which they grew up, but to the horse-breeding farm Valentine now calls home. Meanwhile, Spike the Butcher, who had killed Valentine's men ten years earlier, follows the ex-gangster to his farm in hopes of finishing the job. With the help of his henchmen, Creeper and Dingbat, Spike plans an ambush at the Ryan home, only to have district attorney Paul Revere Smith, who is Pat's sweetheart, show up. Later, the boys take the Ryans' silver and try to steal their station wagon, but a flat tire and an old hunting dog foil their escape plans. Acting on the advice of Paul's father, Colonel Smith, the Ryans raise $50,000 to build a trade school. On the pretext of visiting the dentist, Tom goes into town, where he hopes to plan the gang's escape. He immediately runs into Creeper and Dingbat, who take the youngster to see Spike. Tom tells the gangster about the money for the trade school, and Spike immediately thinks it is a "charity racket." After telling the gangster all, Tom suddenly realizes that he is talking to his father's killer. Tom goes back to his gang, and they plan to protect the charity money from their fathers' killer. Thinking that the gang is attempting to steal Pat's car, Pesty holds the teenagers at gunpoint until they explain their motives. Because of this delay, the boys get behind the colonel's car, and are unable to stop Spike and his mob when they run him off the road and steal the money. With both cars damaged, the gangster takes off on foot, and the teenagers follow in close pursuit. The colonel, meanwhile, takes Pat's car into town to notify the police. The gangsters manage to get away, and Paul warns Valentine that he is officially listed as a suspect in the robbery. The police return the teenagers to Valentine's home, where they are sent upstairs, only to find Spike and his gang there. Valentine and his family walk into Spike's trap, but the ex-gangster talks his foe into hiding out at the farm until "the heat blows." Miss Crookshank then arrives, and Spike makes plans to use her for his getaway. After the boys break out of the cellar, a fight ensues, and Spike and his mobsters are captured and the money is recovered. The boys are congratulated by the colonel for their bravery, but then realize that they have saved their own trade school.
Jess Lee Brooks
Bernard B. Brown
Bernard W. Burton
R. A. Gausman
Robert Lee Johnson
Robert Lee Johnson
Harold H. Macarthur
H. J. Salter
I've been marking my day's off the calendar.- Paul Revere Smith
Yeah, I've been doin' the same myself.- James J. Ryan
You've got a swell chance to steer your mob right. Don't muff it!- Molly Ryan
The opening credits read: "The Dead End Kids, Gladys George, Barton MacLane, and the Little Tough Guys in Hit the Road." In February 1941, both Los Angeles Times and Variety reported that the character played by actor Barton MacLane would be a survivor of the famed 1929 "St. Valentine's Day" gangster slaying in Chicago; however, while the character is sometimes referred to as "Valentine," no other reference to this historical event exists in the finished film. Hollywood Reporter reported in March 1941 that actress Gladys George missed four days of shooting due to an unspecified illness. For additional information on these series, consult the Series Index and the see entries for Crime School and Little Tough Guy in the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.0873 and F3.2534.