in my opinion, wallace beery should have been cast more as a leading man, judging by his quite brilliant performance as the washed up, alcholic boxer who attempts and struggles to re-capture his former glory in the ring as well of out of the ring. as much as beery's character is a rough and gruff sort of character, he has a heart of gold underneath: he loves and cares for his little son as best he can. in spite of his heavy drinking, the character never once takes out his frustrations on his boy. the two of them reside in a cheap boarding house on the mexican border as they both struggle to make ends meet in their every day lives. the boxer's ex wife is able to track down the little boy and hopes to be able to bring him up, along with her new husband and their daughter. the scenes where the boy says goodbye to his drunken dad, are amongst the most touching i have come across and those scenes are very well acted and written. playing the boy is child star and later respected actor jackie cooper. he is perfectly cast as the street-wise kid. every time the wallace beery character gets drunk and lets the boy down, he is still in his dad's corner, loyal to the last, whether it's inside the boxing ring or outside. after a few false starts, wallace beery is able to give up drinking and goes into training for an upcoming bout for the heavyweight championship. sadly, all the sacrifices that he has made along the way, come with a heavy price. a classic of a film from the golden days of hollywood, it is not to be missed.