Hard times in the Great Depression led to formation of The Bonus Army. American veterans of World War 1 march on streets of Washington DC, carrying a large poster demanding immediate cash redemption their "bonus" service certificates awarded by Congress in 1924 (but not lawfully payable until 1945). Army Chief of Staff, General Douglas MacArthur, ordered by President Hoover, to clear the Bonus Army encampments, is seen standing in a street surrounded by several U.S. Army troops. People watch from sidewalks as a contingent of U.S. Army cavalry rides down the street. U.S. Army M-1917 tanks roll down Pennsylvania Avenue in July 1932. Bonus marchers and others watch from Lafayette Park in background. Scene shifts to the 1932 Democratic Party Convention in Chicago Stadium, Chicago, where delegates cheer after nominating Franklin D. Roosevelt as their Presidential candidate. Roosevelt seen waving from the podium. Migrant farm workers seen at temporary, dilapidated dwellings in close quarters, and sitting at a campfire, some with sad and desperate faces. Migrant farm workers' cars on the road, piled high with family belongings during westward migration. Migrants riding atop an open railroad freight car. Two men share a copy of the "Epic News" newspaper (published by supporters of Upton Sinclair and the End Poverty Movement in Los Angeles and central California). Narrator describes programs of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Construction workers ignite demolition charges during construction of Boulder Dam (aka Hoover Dam and officially so-named in 1947). Glimpse of President Roosevelt at the site in an open car, for its dedication on September 30, 1935. Construction workers engaged in building the dam. Another shot of President Roosevelt in his open car. Towers being erected to carry electric power from the dam's hydroelectric generators. President Franklin D. Roosevelt smiling broadly at the formal dedication ceremony, September 30, 1935. Controlled discharges of water through the dam. Views of the Boulder Dam hydroelectric generating station. Oil well rigs or oil derricks at work during construction at night. People at work in fabric mills or textile mills, and in a print shop
Film opens with hazy aerial views of Chicago Illinois. Scene shifts to views from vehicle driving on Chicago highway. A road sign reads"Des Plaines River Rd exits 1/2 mile ahead." A Boeing 727 commercial airliner is seen overhead with wheels down as it descends to land. Some 1960s cars drive past. View back, of the airliner descending above the highway, and of truck and cars passing the camera vehicle. Overhead road sign reads "Chicago Downtown 15 Miles." View of the Chicago skyline of buildings on Lake Michigan waterfront. View from slow moving aircraft of the Wrigley Building; the Michigan Avenue Bridge across the Chicago River; and the Tribune Tower. Camera continues to pan to East and then at building with "United Insurance" written near its top. Camera then swirls downward to river and bridges directly below and then back up from street and down again, ending on avenue near building displaying two American flags.
Shops and public places in Chicago, Illinois United States. People enter the L. Fish Furniture company, established 1858, with a fish-shaped sign at the entrance. Men having hair cut at the La Estrella barber shop. A man reads a Spanish language newspaper. One man in waiting line plays with his dog. View of the entrance way and shop windows at the Sajewski Music Store "since 1897" in a Polish neighborhood and streets of Chicago. An older man and a young boy look in the windows at guitars and a drumset on display. Signs in a Polish neighborhood of Chicago advertising goods with both English and Polish signs. Old women walk on sidewalks. A close-up of an elderly man. Old citizens of Chicago talk to each other. Public buses drive on roads. The elevated train arrives, pulling into a station stop.
Elevated views of large buildings of Chicago and ground nearby. Buses and 1960s cars on busy roads, streets, and highways in Chicago area. A street car or trolley goes by on a road. It's connecting rod can be seen above it. Pedestrians walk on roads and sidewalks in what may be an Italian neighborhood of Chicago. Shops in the area. Three women wearing typical 1960s fashions and hair styles walk on sidewalk in front of a pizzeria. Old men on streets. A residential area, and a church near by. City of Chicago workers in the Department of Urban Renewal work to clean debris from an area and load it on a truck. A huge building under construction.
Film opens showing people in an American city (possibly Chicago) celebrating the Allied victory over Japan on VJ Day, August 15th, 1945. Scene shifts abruptly to Chicago, Illinois, where French General Charles de Gaulle is seen saluting in a reviewing stand at Victory Plaza near Lasalle Street entrance to City Hall. (On August 24th, he had accepted an invitation from Mayor Edward Kelly to stop in Chicago on August 27-28, 1945, during his visit to the U.S. and Canada.) Next, general de Gaulle and Mayor Kelly are seen in an open car in a motorcade amidst crowds of well-wishers. Enthusiastic spectators run along side their car. Glimpse of a dense crowd of people, including a contingent of sailors in dress whites. Final scene shows General de Gaulle speaking with reporters and photographers near a sign reading "W-G-N." (A Chicago radio station).
A typical American family gathered around their radio, at home. This is the Springer family in Chicago, Illinois. Mr. George N. Springer and Bernadette Wiley Springer are seated on chairs with their children, George and Arthur, as they listen to their large wooden console radio. George tunes the radio. A close up of Bernadette with her child, Arthur. (This was filmed in their home on 79th Street in Chicago. George worked for the Daily News in that city.)