Jean Valjean is an ex-convict who was imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread. Upon his release, he finds that he is treated like an outcast everywhere he goes, until the Bishop Myriel helps him to create a new life for himself. He adopts the name Monsieur Madeleine, and becomes a successful factory owner. However, he is hunted by the dogged police officer Javert , who believes that no criminal can ever truly reform. Fantine is an impoverished but beautiful young woman who falls in love with a pompous young student, who eventually abandons her shortly after she gives birth to their child. After her illegitimate child is discovered, she loses her job at Valjean's factory and is forced to turn to prostitution.