In 1921 in the poor part of an Austrian town called Melchiorgasse there are only two wealthy people: the butcher Josef Geiringer and his wife. Mrs. Greifer runs a fashion boutique and a nightclub patronized by wealthy Viennese. Annexed to the nightclub is Merkl Hotel, a brothel to which the women of the nightclub bring their clients. The film follows the lives of two women from the same poor neighborhood as they try to better themselves during the period of Austrian postwar hyperinflation. They are Marie, who becomes a prostitute, and Grete who does not.