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Rural Ireland, January 1919. Facing a life of grinding poverty with an abusive father, sixteen year old May Sharpe steals her father´s savings and escapes to America to find a new life. Arriving in the harsh New York winter, May finds a society in turmoil, as the `get rich quick´ war years turn to recession.
Destitute, May is drawn into the criminal underworld by smooth con-man, `Society´ Eddie Young who promises her a life of excitement and easy money.

A young, idealistic cop, Joe Perski, who meets May when she first arrives in New York, tries to save her from Eddie´s influence. Joe, as quintessentially good as Eddie is dishonest, has fallen for the beautiful, feisty May and makes it his mission to `save´ her, before she finds herself behind bars for life.

For May her new life of crime is not about morality, it´s pragmatic. Duping men who think she is a whore, she is soon living the life of her dreams. By her eighteenth birthday, after a particularly audacious diamond heist in Chicago, May becomes known as `Chicago May´, the most notorious swindler in New York.

But at the height of her success, married to Eddie and living the `respectable´ life she has always secretly craved, May learns that her husband has accepted a contract to murder an awkward trade union leader. May´s natural allegiance is with the underdog. After failing to dissuade Eddie, and having been beaten for her pains, May is forced into the most difficult decision of her young life, a decision which leads her into an unlikely alliance with Joe and which threatens her own life.
Inspired by a true story.

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