This effective, straightforward story about the birth and on-going life of a young man at the beginning of the 20th century reflects the political and social history of his time. Adrien (child, Bertrand Sautereau, adult, Serge Dominque) was born in a field to a mother who had lived as a shepherdess. She died when he was born. As he grows up under harsh treatment by his grandfather, World War I and labor unrest simmer and explode in the background. Finally rebelling against his grandfather, Adrien runs away and stays with another family for awhile. But the lure of finding his place in the world continues. He gets a job and eventually falls in love, though nothing in his life comes along easily and some of the biases he experiences have more than social nuances as Europe simmers again on the way to World War II.