Sixteen-year-old Paul Palmer, who sells newspapers and magazines on the train to support his widowed mother and younger sister, achieves financial prosperity after spoiling the unsavory schemes of several swindlers.
Orphaned and poor at age fourteen, Frank Fowler is determined to make a living for himself and his foster sister. He obtains work as a cash boy (i.e., carrying cash between customers and the cashier's desk) at a large retail store. After losing this job, Frank is tricked by an enemy and held prisoner. This action backfires against his enemy, because it enables Frank to find his true identity. Throughout, young Frank demonstrates his mature independence and courageous determination to struggle against heavy odds.
Sixteen-year-old Philip Brent leaves his small hometown to seek his fortune in 1880s New York after his spiteful stepmother reveals that instead of being his late father's beloved only son, he is of unknown parentage and must fend for himself.
Jed Gilmore, a boy of sixteen, had been left at the Scranton poorhouse as a two-year-old. Wishing to leave the poorhouse, Jed runs away and eventually finds work as a companion for a rich man's young son. Yet upon arriving at New York City, he is robbed of thirty-five dollars, his entire fortune. After being enticed unknowingly into robbing a yacht in New York harbor, Jed clears himself and befriends the yacht owner, who employs him. In the meantime, Mr. Peake, a New York detective, verifies that Jed is really Sir Robert Fenwick, heir of an English estate. Mr. Peake must find Jed in the big city to give him the news of a past betrayal that will change his life.
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