Jean Valjean is paroled after serving 19 years in prison for stealing some bread. He tries to steal silverware from a missionary, but is set straight by a bishop. Nine years later, Valjean is now a wealthy industrialist and mayor. He eventually befriends Fantine, a single mother turned prostitute and risks all when he helps her after she's nearly arrested by police officer Javert. Javert was a guard at the prison Valjean was in and is suspicious that the mayor and Valjean are the same person.