1905: Syphilis and prostitution flourish in a small town somewhere in the Danube monarchy. In the midst of the night stands Marie, a young prostitute, who has learned how to live in this shady environment. Marie's encounters with johns have many faces; notorious bon vivants, an old man who brings cake from his wife, and Count Albin, a lofty gentleman whose behavior is very strange. Before Marie sleeps with him, she must tie a blue band with white dots around her thigh. The next day she encounters the Count shopping with his twelve year old daughter, Anna. It's apparent that Anna who wears a blue band with white dots in her hair is afraid of her father. Marie is deeply touched by Anna's emotional state which provokes her curiosity about the child. As she investigates Anna's situation Marie's humanity is revealed. It's ironic that a girl, Anna, of noble origins finds a motherly role model in Marie the prostitute.