Bertin (Victor Lanoux) has accidentally killed his wife during an argument. He is the owner of a tannery which employs most of the inhabitants of the town he lives in. Rather than subject himself to the indignities of a police inquiry, he attempts to cover up the killing by saying that she has left him. At first, his tale is believed, because he has been openly seeing another woman who is pregnant with his child (and heir). Later, a judge magistrate (the French lawman with responsibility for criminal investigations) discovers the woman's corpse, and puts Bertin on trial for murder. The factory owner is determined to be acquitted, and he blackmails the townspeople so that the trial turns out to suit him. He wins his freedom, but loses his mistress, who is thoroughly repulsed. This drama is based on the novel The Lesser Evil by Jean Laborde.
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