In a French province, at the end of the XVIII century, Louise de Villefort is forced by her father, on the verge of bankruptcy, to marry the Marquis Philippe Baguy de Puyvallées, a rich young man debauched and gambler.

Very quickly abandoned by her husband, she falls into neurasthenia.
Manon, her friend, worried about Louise’s isolation, comes to invite her to a reception given at her house by her brother in honor of a childhood friend, Charles Ligeac de Vigonde. He is a valiant captain of the Royal Army, who returns to the country, after having fought with La Fayette, to liberate America.
Louise and Charles fall in love with each other and become lovers.

Meanwhile, Philippe is playing a game of three-of-a-kind, the outcome of which is dramatic for him, since he has just lost all his fortune.
But the last game that he holds in his hands, seems impossible for him and he is sure to win everything back. Having no more money to bet, he offers a new stake to his opponent, the Marquis de Noayes: a night of love with his wife, if the latter wins this ultimate pot. And he loses.

As soon as he returns home, he exposes the situation to Louise and a violent argument ensues during which Louise, in a gesture of defense, plants a pair of scissors in Philippe’s carotid and kills him.

Manon and Charles, come to his rescue and propose to disguise this murder as suicide.

Shortly after, Charles, who has resigned from the Royal Army, returns to look for Louise to take her to rebuild their lives in the New World.