The story takes place in Spain during the presence of Napoleon's army. The heroine is the young gypsy girl, Paquita. Unbeknownst to Paquita, she is really of noble birth, having been abducted by gypsies when she was an infant. She saves the life of a young French officer, Lucien d'Hervilly, who is the target of a Spanish governor who desires to have him killed by Iñigo, a gypsy chief. By way of a medallion she discovers that she is of noble birth, being in fact the cousin of Lucien. As such, she and the Officer are able to get married.