The story is set in 1830s in England. Oliver Twist is born in a workhouse near London at a cold winter night. His mother dies when he was born. Before her death, she handed a gold locket to a woman in the workhouse, saying that this gold locket will lead this baby to his family. Oliver was placed in the care of a badly run home for young orphans for his first nine years of his life. At age of nine, he was sent to the workhouse working for a living. Kids there are mistreated as they never get enough food and cloth. After representing his fellow sufferers in an attempt to get more gruel at the end of a meal, Oliver is punished and is apprenticed to Sowerberry, a local funeral undertaker. When the undertaker’s other apprentice makes disparaging comments about Oliver’s mother, Oliver attacks him and incurs the Sowerberrys’ wrath. Desperate, Oliver runs away at dawn and heads for London. He begged food on his way and sleeps rough in the fields. Having walked seven days in a row, he arrives at London. Outside London, Oliver, starved and exhausted, meets Jack Dawkins, a boy his own age. Jack offers Olive shelter in London slums with Fagin. Fagin is a career criminal; he trained orphan boys to pick pockets for him. After a few days’ training, Oliver is sent out with Jack and another boy on a pickpocket expedition. When he sees the two boys steals a handkerchief from an elderly gentleman outside a bookstore, Oliver is horrified and runs off before he is caught and sent to the police. Oliver is freed upon proved innocent. Mr. Brownlow, the wealthy gentleman whose handkerchief is stolen and feels sorry for Oliver, takes him to his home and treats him very well. Oliver thrives in Mr. Brownlow’s home, Fagin asks Bill Sikes and Nancy, two young adults in his gang, to capture Oliver on the street and bring him back to the Fagin’s den by force.
Bill Sikes make a living by robbing houses. One night Bill takes Oliver to rob a house. Oliver’s refusal of getting involved in the burglary alarms the inhabitants of the house. Sikes fires at him with great anger and flees hastily. Olive is taken in by the kindhearted Mrs. Maylie, the house owner and her adopted niece Rose. With careful nursing by Mrs. Maylie and Rose, Oliver made a quick recovery from the injury. Meanwhile, a mysterious Mr. Monks who is interested in Oliver’s origin manages to get the gold locket left behind by Oliver’s mother. As a matter of fact, Oliver is Monks half brother. In the attempt to deprive Oliver’s share of his family inheritance, Monks decides to keep the finding as a secret and sinks the gold locket into the river. Moreover, he plots against Oliver with Fagin. Nancy, Sikes’ wife by chance overhears the conversation between Monks and Fagin. To save Oliver she tells Rose on Monk’s plot. Rose brings Oliver to Mr. Brownlow and tells him the whole story. But after Fagin tells Sikes what Nancy has done against them. Sikes brutally murders Nancy in a rage. Mr. Brownlow catches Monks and wrings the truth about Oliver’s parentage from him. Fagin is arrested and condemned to death. While trying to escape, Sikes accidentally hangs himself. Having got his inheritance and been adopted by Mr. Brownlow, Oliver starts his happy life after going through all these misery.