The year is 1936. It is the height of the Great Depression and a man named Johnny Hooker is making ends meet as a con man in Joliet, Illinois. He successfully cons an impressive $11,000 out of an unsuspecting victim in a pigeon drop with his partners Luther Coleman and Joe Erie. Luther announces to Hooker his intentions to abandon the life of crime shortly thereafter, and advises him to seek out an old friend by the name of Henry Gondorff, who has knowledge of how to pull “the big con”. Unbeknownst to Hooker and his cohorts, their mark was a numbers racket courier working for nefarious crime boss Doyle Lonnegan. By grabbing the attention of such an influential figure in the criminal underworld, Hooker may have bitten off more than he could chew.