Sweety Barrett is an illiterate but big-hearted man who has just lost his job as a large-object swallower in a traveling circus. He moves to a small port town and picks up odd jobs. He also meets Anne and her young son, with whom he establishes an instant rapport. But there are problems in the little town: a crazed police chief who runs a corrupt and violent office. When Anne's husband gets out of jail, both he and Sweety are set on a collision course with the authorities.