A little girl has her parents killed in war and is taken in by a family. A boy helps her bury her dog and create a cemetery for animals by stealing crosses.
In June 1940 people fleeing on a road are bombed by German planes. A stalled car is pushed off the road. Little Paulette (Brigitte Fossey) runs after her dog. Both her parents are killed by a strafing plane. A woman throws the dead dog in a river, and Paulette retrieves it. Georges Dolle (Jacques Marin) is injured by a horse. The boy Michel Dolle (Georges Poujouly) promises Paulette a dog and takes her home. His father does not like his neighbor and accepts her.
Paulette learns that her parents were probably buried like animals. At night Paulette screams. Georges sends Michel to check on her.
In the morning Paulette goes to bury her dog with a hoe. A priest (Louis Sainteve) teaches her how to pray. Michel finds her and helps her dig. She buries the dog, and he makes a cross. He says a cemetery provides company for the dead.
Michel’s father (Lucien Hubert) hears Michel hammering a cross and punishes him. Madame Dolle (Suzanne Courtal) gives Georges castor oil while Michel prays. They realize that Georges died.
Soldier Francis Gouard (Amédée) comes home blowing a trumpet. He eats and says the Germans are near. Michel finds out that it is Francis and tells his family. Papa Dolle warns Berthe Dolle (Laurence Badie) to stay away from Francis, but they smooch outside. Michel takes two crosses from the hearse for Paulette’s animal cemetery.
The funeral is in a church. Michel tells his father that Gouard took the crosses. Michel and Paulette covet crosses for their animal cemetery. Michel confesses to the priest that he took the crosses. The priest catches Michel at the altar and drives him out of the church.
Michel kills a stink bug, and Paulette complains. She kisses everyone goodnight. Francis and Berthe are hiding in a hayloft. Michel and Paulette come in and take a wheelbarrow, and in the dark they steal crosses from a cemetery during bombing.
On Sunday the Dolle family takes flowers to the grave. They find crosses are gone. Papa Dolle destroys a Gouard cross, and Joseph Gouard (André Wasley) fights with him in a grave. The priest says that it was Michel who stole them, and Michel runs off. Michel looks over the animal cemetery.
Papa Dolle says he counted fourteen missing crosses. Berthe asks Paulette where they are. Michel warns Berthe that he will tell who she was with in the barn. Police come. Papa Dolle tries to compel Michel to say where the crosses are and agrees to keep Paulette if he tells. Michel says they are at the mill. A policeman questions Paulette who says her name is Dolle. Michel feels his father broke his promise and runs to the mill and throws the crosses in the river.
In a large crowd a nun puts a card around the neck of Paulette and says she will be with other girls. Paulette runs off into the crowd looking for Michel.
This anti-war drama portrays the insane results of mindless killing on rural people. Two children become obsessed with death and try to create their own little world by caring for dead animals.