Newsies is a film surrounding the classic power struggle between the underdogs--aka the newsies-- and the head boss of a huge newspaper company. The story is based on events from the actual newsboy strike in 1899. The star rebel rouser of the film is Jack Kelly played by Christian Bale. He is joined by the new kid on the block and friend David Jacobs. Jack is an orphan who has led a bleak life just trying to get by. But he is also a dreamer, and this is what gets him through each dreary day. He has dreams of traveling out west to Santa Fe. He imagines that out west things will be better and that somehow all of his dreams will come true if he can escape his poverty stricken life. It is revealed that Jack also has a deep desire for a family and is slightly jealous of the fact that David has such a warm family life.
The newsies make money by purchasing newspapers from the window then selling them on the street. The story begins to take off when the newsies arrive at work to discover that the price for them to purchase their newspapers has gone up significantly. Jack deems this as unreasonable and with the help of a reluctant David is able to organize a strike of their fellow newsies. They are aided in their cause by a young reporter named Bryan whose eye they have caught. Bryan writes several stories about their plight and consequent strike bringing other newsies to join them.
Despite what appears to be a successful venture, tensions arise between David and Jack. David is trying to support his family while his injured father is out of work and begins to express serious doubts as to how long they can really go on strike with no pay coming in. Jack is able to temporarily smooth things over with David and convince him that the strike is the only way that their bosses will begin to treat them fairly. Unfortunately their friendship is tested again when a Jack suddenly starts working for the newspaper again for no apparent reason. David is angry and doesn't understand why Jack would betray a cause he had previously been so passionate about.