Five boys grow up poor. One’s killed, one becomes a cop, two join the Mafia and kill the fifth boy. The cop struggles financially and accepts favors.
Frankie, Phil, Carlo, Vinnie and Mike grow up in an Italian neighborhood known as the 1st Ward in Newark, New Jersey, during the depression and WWII. Times were bad; for them, stealing was a way of life.
The brothers, Frankie and Phil, become wise guys working for the Family. Carlo becomes a policeman to get away from the criminal element, or so he thought. Using the problems of everyday life as an excuse, Carlo accepts favors from his past friends, Frankie, Phil, and their capo regime favors he knows he must someday repay. Does Carlo renege on his commitments? Are Frankie and Phil ordered to hit Carlo? Or does Carlo give up being a cop and join his friends? Do all these three survive their tumultuous lives, or do they end up on a cold morgue slab?
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