Nello is a boy who lives a poor but happy life, helping his grandfather Jehan to cart milk to the nearby village. He loves drawing pictures and his dream is to become a painter just like the famous artist Peter Paul Rubens. One day Nello finds Patrash, a dog that has been abused and abandoned. Nello takes Patrash into his home and cares for the wretched animal. Over time, boy and dog develop a close friendship and come to depend on one another. Alois, a daughter of the richest family in the village, joins our hero as a sympathetic friend. However, Nello's poverty and his dream of becoming a painter alienate Alois's father Kozetsu and the other villagers. Nello experiences firsthand the cruelty of the people he has grown up with, and must struggle to win their appreciation and respect. With perseverance and determination, this young boy never lets go of his dream no matter how trying the circumstances.