The play takes place partly in Budapest, Hungary, and partly in Heaven. The story concerns Liliom, a tough, cocky carousel barker who falls in love with Julie, a young woman who works as a maid. When both lose their jobs, Liliom begins mistreating Julie out of bitterness, although he loves her (he even slaps her once). When she discovers that she is pregnant, he is deliriously happy, but unbeknownst to Julie, he agrees to participate with his friend Ficsúr, a criminal, in a holdup to obtain money to provide for the child. Liliom is unwilling to leave Julie and return to his jealous former employer, the carousel owner Mrs. Muskat, and feels that the robbery is his only way left to obtain financial security. The holdup is a disaster, but Ficsúr escapes, and Liliom kills himself to avoid capture. He is sent to a fiery place, presumably Purgatory. Sixteen years later, he is allowed to return to earth for one day to do a good deed for his now teenage daughter, whom he has never met. If he succeeds, he will be allowed to enter Heaven. He fails in the attempt, and is presumably sent to Hell. The ending, though, focuses on Julie, who obviously remembers Liliom fondly.