A twelve-year-old African boy named Modou is orphaned when his family dies from AIDS. He leaves his remote village in the Sahel, attaches himself to an African holy man and becomes a beggar in the city. The street smarts he thus gains enable him to survive when he is separated from his mentor. Modou befriends another orphaned boy, Umaru, and together they cope with the trials of street life: abuse, hunger, police brutality and inept interventions by social agencies.
Modou regularly evades the police and unwittingly becomes a popular hero for his cocky attitude and daring escapes. His indomitable spirit inspires political opposition in the country to unite and drives a determination in both the police force and the national army to capture or kill him. Despite being constantly thwarted, Modou never loses his optimism or his determination to rise above his circumstances. Long Legs Boy is the story of a hero, not the story of a victim.