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Louis Rousseau believes that the technically perfect music of his violin student, Tom Richards, lacks a soul because Tom has not suffered. Therefore, he convinces Rosalie Anjou, whom Tom saved from apaches and now loves, that she must dance at the notorious Moulin Rouge to earn the money Tom needs for his lessons. While keeping Tom ignorant of her activities, Rosalie becomes a great success and is selected Queen of the Moulin Rouge. Rousseau takes Tom to the coronation and, as he hoped, Tom denounces Rosalie and pours his pain and rage into his music. Rousseau confesses his scheme and Tom rushes to the banks of the Seine just in time to save Rosalie from a watery grave.