Aspiring reporter Kit Kittredge can't resist bringing home strays, whether it's Grace, an abandoned basset hound, or Will and Countee, a pair of young hobos willing to trade work for meals. Bright, inquisitive and generous, Kit is a natural born leader. But her happy childhood is abruptly interrupted when her father loses his car dealership and must leave Cincinnati to look for work. Kit and her mother Margaret are left to manage on their own, growing vegetables, selling eggs and even taking in an assortment of boarders including an itinerant magician, a vivacious dance instructor on the prowl for a husband and a zany mobile librarian. When a crime spree sweeps Cincinnati, all signs point to the local "hobo jungle," where Will and Countee live with a group of their impoverished companions. Kit, who always has her antennae out for a good news story, convinces her new friends to take her to see the hobo camp for herself and writes an article that creates a sympathetic portrait of the camp's residents. But when Kit's mother and their boarders become the latest victims in a string of robberies, Kit's loyalties are tested. Will is accused of the crimes and, with all of their savings gone, the Kittredges face losing their house to foreclosure. Determined to recover the stolen money and believing Will is innocent, Kit recruits her friends Ruthie and Stirling to help her track down the real culprit. Together they uncover a plot that goes far beyond Cincinnati!