Albert, the owner of a small and tawdry circus, arrives at a small town where he attempts to effect a reconciliation with his wife Agda whom he left for the circus many years previous. She refuses to resume the marriage whilst Albert's lover, Anne, upset at Albert's rejection of her, has a humiliating affair with an actor, Frans. During a performance given by the circus, Frans begins to taunt Albert and, enraged, challenges him to a fight during which he is severely beaten. Deciding that suicide is his only escape he tries to take his own life but fails. As the circus leaves town, the ill-fated couple find themselves reluctantly and miserably committed to each other.