Tom Brown (Alex Pettyfer) is energetic, stubborn, kind-hearted, and athletic more than intellectual. He acts according to his feelings and the unwritten rules of the boys around him more than adults' rules. The film deals with his years at the elite public school for boys Rugby School. His year starts when he goes to Rugby School, where he becomes acquainted with the adults and boys who live at the school and in its environs. On his arrival, the 13-year-old Tom Brown is looked after by a more experienced classmate, Harry "Scud" East (Harry Michell). Soon after, Tom and East become the targets of a bully named Flashman (Joseph Beattie). The intensity of the bullying increases, and, after refusing to hand over a sweepstake ticket for the favorite in a horse race, Tom is deliberately burned in front of a fire. Tom and Scud stop Flashman's bullying when Flashman is expelled after a fight with Tom in which he used brass knuckles.