Set in the fast and loose ambience of 1947 in West Germany, this story is about Hans Kolp, an inventive, teenage urban con artist who takes advantage of an out-of-control black market where almost any Allied goods can be stolen and traded for a tidy profit. Hans learns to speak good English from an American soldier friend, and bored with school -- which is nothing more than a big room in the railroad station with only one teacher to mind all levels of students -- the enterprising Hans starts a gang of petty thieves. Armed with a stolen jeep, the youngsters deal successfully in stolen goods, with Hans doing a good impression of a G.I. Business is so good, in fact, that when someone arrives to encourage Hans to get into the big-time with stolen vehicles and U.S. Army uniforms, the first crisis comes up in the small gang. Members want to back away from that level of dangerous dealing, but Hans wants to go for broke -- a difficult decision that will determine the young con's future.