Carmen, a poor and beautiful woman, lives in a shantytown in Rio de Janeiro. All men desire her, including her stepfather, but she only has eyes for her boyfriend, Milton. After being expelled from home, she finds out her lover is married. Unhappy with her life, she finds a place in a boarding house and tries to find a job, with no success. Tired and starving, she ends up passing out in the street, being helped by a passer-by, who leaves her at writer Flávio Martins's house, a man torn between the proposal of an arranged marriage, an old flame, and the new guest.