The estate owner Stolnik wants to marry his daughter Zofia to the wealthy Janusz. Therefore a party is being held. Suddenly, a woman is heard singing piteously in the distance. Zofia is overcome with pity and Janusz goes out to see what is going on. At the gate he sees the farmgirl Halka with whom he was in love and whom he has now abandoned for the rich heiress Zofia. But Halka still thinks that he will marry her, especially since she is pregnant. To get rid of her he assures her of his love, then sends her away. But she waits for him, not listening to her friend Jontek. She finally realises that a wedding is being prepared and fearfully draws attention to herself again. Janusz and all the party guests come out, angered at this interruption. Jontek and Halka are chased away. On the wedding day Jontek and Halka tell everyone about Janusz’s heartlessness. The villagers take Halka’s side, so the atmosphere is somewhat muted. Janusz enters the church wirth his bride Zofia – while the wedding goes on Halka throws herself into the river.