Puntila, a rich farmer, has a split personality: when drunk, he is generous and kind; when sober, mean and selfish. Sober, Puntila wants his daughter Eva to marry a Foreign Office diplomat; drunk, he leads her to his chauffeur and drinking companion, Matti. Although Eva prefers Matti, she fails to attract him, and a party is arranged to celebrate her engagement to the diplomat. During the party Puntila gets drunk and insults the diplomat, who leaves. Puntila now wants Matti to marry Eva. Matti puts her to the test to see if she is good enough to be a proletarian's wife, but she fails to meet his requirements, and Matti leaves to join his working-class comrades.