In a slum called Easy Street, the police are failing to maintain law and order.
The Little Tramp is sleeping rough outside a mission near the streets of a lawless slum. He is reformed somewhat at the mission where there is singing and religious education. His religious awakening is inspired by a beautiful young woman who pleads for him to stay at the mission.
Spotting a help wanted ad for a job at the police station, the Little Tramp accepts and is assigned the rough-and-tumble Easy Street as his beat. Upon entering the street he finds a bully roughing up the locals and pilfering their money. The Little Tramp gets on the wrong side of the bully and following a chase the two eventually come to blows culminating in the Little Tramp inventively using a gas lamp to render the bully unconscious.
The bully is taken away by the police but manages to escape from the station and returns to Easy Street. After a long chase the Little Tramp manages to knock the bully unconscious by dropping a heavy stove on his head from an upstairs window. On returning to his beat on Easy Street the unruly mob knock the Little Tramp unconscious and drop him into a nearby cellar where he manages to save the aforementioned beautiful young woman from a nasty drug addict after accidentally sitting on the drug addict's needle. Supercharged by the effects of the drug he takes on the mob and heroically defeats them all and as a consequence restores peace and order to Easy Street.
Charles Chaplin ... The Derelict
Edna Purviance ... The Mission Worker
Eric Campbell ... The Bully
Albert Austin ... Minister/Policeman
Lloyd Bacon ... Drug Addict
Henry Bergman ... Anarchist
Frank J. Coleman ... Policeman
William Gillespie ... Heroin addict
James T. Kelley ... Mission Visitor/Policeman
Charlotte Mineau ... Big Eric's Wife
John Rand ... Mission Tramp/Policeman
Janet Miller Sully ... Mother in Mission
Loyal Underwood ... Small Father/Policeman
Erich von Stroheim Jr. ... Baby
Leo White ... Policeman (uncredited)
Tom Wood ... Chief of Police (uncredited)
In 1932, Amedee Van Beuren of Van Beuren Studios, purchased Chaplin's Mutual comedies for $10,000 each, added music by Gene Rodemich and Winston Sharples and sound effects, and re-released them through RKO Radio Pictures. Chaplin had no legal recourse to stop the RKO release.