Homer Hobbs, home after two years in jail, discovers that life on the outside can be crueler than the back-breaking injustice of the chain gang. He returns to a bleak urban town caught in the depths of the Great Depression - no jobs, no prospects, no hope - where he is thrown together with four strangers, each struggling to survive as they scratch and scheme to dig their way out of poverty. Life is grim. But on Sunday nights, in a dingy hall in a forlorn neighborhood, the men of the ghetto piece together the finest attire their meager lives can beg, borrow or steal to compete in an underground contest like no other. The big winner will go home with the five dollar prize. The real prize - far less tangible, yet priceless - is the chance to feel like a king, if just for an evening. To men like these, the touch of a woman, the adulation of the crowd, the feel of a fine-looking suit are proof enough that a man might yet escape the debasement of the ghetto. And only one can emerge - King of the Evening.