Vittorio De Sica plays the middle-aged marshal Antonio Carotenuto of the Carabinieri in a remote fictional Italian mountain village named Sagliena (actually the village of Castel San Pietro Romano, in Lazio). He's anxious to marry, and selects young Gina Lollobrigida as his bride; but she is already in love with De Sica's shy subordinate Roberto Risso. Mistaking her headstrong behavior as promiscuity, De Sica makes advances towards her, but she spurns him. Forsaking the girl to the arms of Risso, De Sica decides to settle for village midwife Marisa Merlini. Things become more complicated when Annarella, the midwife, starts demonstrating her love to Antonio. She is hiding a secret and the Marshal soon will be in a difficult situation.