Marcel Pagnol adapted Jean Giono's novel about a country girl who is lured into prostitution and returns home in shame with a baby.
Farm-hand Saturnin (Fernandel) tells Angele Barbaroux (Orane Demazis) that a neighbor loves her and wants to know if she will agree to marry him. Saturnin offers to say no, and she does not object. Angele goes to town, and Louis (Andrex) follows her on a bike. She refuses to meet him but comes when he whistles later. Louis kisses Angele and says he will wait all night. She comes back, and the urban Louis woos the country girl. The next day he shows his friend that Angele is his girl. Angele packs to leave, but Albin (Jean Servais) warns her that Louis is bad.
More than a year later Saturnin finds Angele in a whorehouse. She says she is not married but has a baby. Saturnin says that her parents are sad, and he asks her to come back; but Angele fears Louis. Saturnin tells her to leave her money. They return, and Saturnin goes in first. Her mother Philomene Barbaroux (Annie Toinon) welcomes Angele and her baby; but her father Clarius Barbaroux (Henry Poupon) calls it a disaster and rejects the child but will feed them.
Albin misses Angele but can't find her. Amédé (Edouard Delmont) sends Albin to the farm of a woman he knew. Angele's father has her locked in a cellar and keeps people away with a gun. Amédé asks for work, and Philomene persuades Clarius to hire him. Saturnin reports to Angele about Amédé. Saturnin tells Amédé that Angele is gone to America, and Amédé tells this to Albin. Amédé returns, sees a cup, and suspects Angele is there. Amédé tells Saturnin that Albin wants Angele. In a rainstorm Angele is flooded. Clarius rescues her, and Amédé sees the baby.
Amédé asks Philomene for four days and promises to return to help Clarius sell the grain. Amédé tells Albin that Angele is home with a baby. Albin goes back with Amédé. Clarius yells at Amédé for having left. Albin tells Saturnin that he wants to marry Angele but must talk to her first. Albin plays harmonica and talks to Angele through the cellar door. He slips her a knife so that she can remove the lock. Angele gets her baby and leaves with Albin. Amédé takes the rifle from Clarius, who tells Philomene that he will kill them. Albin and Angele decide to go back, and Albin asks Clarius if he can marry her. Clarius says that he lost her; but Albin says he will be a father to her baby. Albin blames Clarius for locking up his grandson. Clarius says he felt dirty, but Albin asks him to give Angele to him. Clarius asks Philomene, who cries. Clarius asks Albin about his place in the mountains. Amédé says good-bye to Saturnin, and Angele walks with Albin.
This archetypal story of rural innocence corrupted by city ways explores the shame of the farmer father that is eventually washed clean by the loving commitment of the man who wants to marry Angele.