The story begins with Charlie, the Tramp, arriving at a bar, playing on a violin to raise money and exciting a rivalry with competing musicians. This results in a barroom brawl and comic mayhem.
Wandering off into the vicinity of a gypsy caravan in the country, he encounters the beautiful, though bedraggled, Edna. He entertains her with his violin. She has been abducted and abused by the gypsies, chief among them Eric Campbell, who whips her mercilessly. Charlie comes to her rescue and knocks her tormentors over the head with a stick before riding off with her in a commandeered cart. Love develops between them as Charlie washes Edna's face in a bowl and combs her hair. He makes breakfast while she goes to fetch water. On the way Edna meets an artist who lacks inspiration. Edna is his muse and he paints her, including her unique shamrock-shaped birthmark. Edna falls for him and brings him back to the cart where the two talk, while Charlie is ignored. The artist leaves and she is stuck with Charlie.
The resulting painting is seen by the girl's mother who recognizes the unusual birthmark and rushes with the artist to rescue her daughter. They find her with Charlie, who refuses payment from the mother and sadly says goodbye. Edna is driven off in a limousine with her mother, others, and the artist--only to realize she loves Charlie. She orders the car to reverse and take him along with her.