The film takes place in the poor neighborhood of St. Henri, in Montreal, during the Second World War. Florentine Lacasse, a young waitress, who dreams of a better life and is helping her parents get by, falls in love with Jean Lévesque, an ambitious machinist-electrician. Quickly tiring of the relationship, Lévesque introduces her to a friend, Emmanuel Letourneau, who is a soldier on leave. Emmanuel falls in love with Florentine. A parallel thread in the film is the Lacasse family life, made very difficult by the Great Depression.

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