Bargeman Louveau finds an abandoned boy, Victor, and with the authorities permission takes him back to his own family where he raises him. 10 years later Victor and Louveau's daughter Clara have fallen in love, and it is then that Louveau is called to Paris, where it has been discovered that Victor is really the son of Maugendré, a charcoal shipper on the Nivernaise canal. Meanwhile, Victor protects Clara when a jealous bargehand attacks her and he manages to save the family barge from crashing into the lock. Returned to his real father, Victor is sent away to be educated but misses Clara and his life on the barges. When Maugendré realizes this he lets him return and when they are married he gives Victor and Clara a barge of their own.