Once, Lola Montes (Martine Carol) was a famous cabaret dancer and the lover of many of 19th-century Europe's most prominent men. Now she works in a seedy American circus, where a circus master (Peter Ustinov) tells her life story as the main attraction. After her mother's lover (Ivan Desny) marries Lola instead, she is abducted by Russian cossacks. Her many affairs end in marriage to King Ludwig I of Bavaria (Anton Walbrook). She then flees when revolution threatens his kingdom.