Foreman of a quarry in Haute-Provence, Noël Bienvenu lives with his elderly parents after the death of his wife. Shortly after his son, Bastien, is sent to prison for a minor theft, Noël visits an old friend who, on his deathbed, asks the foreman to take care of his daughter, Marthe. In the wake of an ill-fated romance in Marseilles, Marthe is all too eager to start a new life, and accepts Noël's invitation to live in his house. Noël falls in love with Marthe, and, although he is twenty years her senior, they marry. It is not long before Marthe realizes her mistake. Bored by her husband, bored by her life in the quarry, she begins to have an affair with a young bargeman...