Leamy, a cobbler, comes to America to escape brutal British overlords
in Ireland and an impending famine. He experiences, as he settles
in Philadelphia, an atmosphere of hate from anti-Irish elements
that confine him, his wife and two children to one of the many hovels
along the waterfront. Despite that, Moze expects to thrive along
with his adopted country. But a campaign by forces of hate have
other plans for Moze and the rest of the Irish community.
Moze fails to make a living repairing boots among the poor Irish.
To avoid the rough gangs that unload the ships, Moze seeks the humbling
job of cleaning fish. When the fishmonger hears his Irish accent,
he threatens him with a big knife and orders him to leave.
Soon after, an Irish boy is found murdered. Moze and others ask
why. Moze believes a neighborhood thief killed him. Some argue the
victim had nothing to steal. The police and the public ignore the
death of this "lowly" Irishman.
Facing starvation, Moze reluctantly seeks the backbreaking job of
unloading ships. A gang of Irish haters, headed by Ethan, attack
and drive them from the pier after accusing them of taking jobs
from "real Americans." Still trying, Moze is astonished, considering
his skills, to get turned away from a leather shop just because
he is Irish. Now willing to work with pigs, Moze's Irish accent
gets him chased from a farm.
Another Irishman is murdered. The policeman says the victim was
just a "drunken Mick" and no investigation is conducted.
In a last resort to get work, the Irish make a long trek to a mill
in a nearby town. They are hired but Ethan's gang attacks them on
the way home and kill two of them. Back at their local tavern that
night, they learn that Ethan also killed the first two because they
Vowing to finish off the Irish, Ethan's gang team up with other
Irish haters and begin their march to conduct an all-out assault
on the Irish enclave.
The Mayor learns of the impending rioting and requests federal troops
to intervene. Ethan steals a boat and tries to delay the ferry carrying
the soldiers across the river to the city but Moze distracts Ethan
and the ferry passes. Once ashore, the troops cannot get to the
Irish enclave, which is now under attack, because of the spectators
that jam the tiny streets. In a clever, last minute maneuver, Moze
directs the soldiers to the battle and prevents a massive slaughter
and total destruction of the Irish enclave. Still, 30 Irishmen are
now dead and some houses are destroyed by fire. Ethan is killed
when he tries to flee while survivors of his gang are rounded up