Mrs Johnstone, a struggling single mother of seven, finds out that she is pregnant with twins. Her employer, Mrs Lyons persuades Mrs Johnstone to give her one of the babies.
Mrs Lyons takes Edward and brings him up as her own, convincing her husband this is true. Mrs Johnstone goes back to work but fusses over Edward, leading to Mrs Lyons firing her.
Aged seven, Mickey and Edward meet and become best friends, along with Mickey’s neighbour Linda. The three get into trouble with the police when they begin to throw stones at windows.
Scared of Edward becoming close to his biological family, Mrs Lyons convinces her husband to move the family to the countryside. Soon afterwards, the Johnstones (and Linda’s family) are rehoused by the council.
As teenagers, Mickey and Edward meet again and they rekindle their friendship. Linda and the boys remain close throughout their teenage years before Edward goes to university.
After marrying a pregnant Linda, Mickey loses his factory job. Unemployed, Mickey is involved in a crime with one of his brothers, Sammy, and both are sent to prison.
Mickey becomes depressed and takes pills to help him cope, which he continues to take after being released.
After Mickey comes out of prison and starts a new job, Edward and Linda start a light romance. Mickey finds out and is furious so he finds Sammy’s gun and goes to find Edward at his workplace, the town hall.
Mrs Johnstone follows Mickey and tells him in front of Edward that they are twins. The police also arrive.
Mickey waves the gun around and it accidentally goes off, killing Edward. The police shoot Mickey. The twins both lie dead.