The lives of three generations of peasant farmers in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy are the focus of this unexciting, flat-footed saga by Florestano Vancini. When the grandfather (Marne Maitland) first decides to leave his job of canal-building and move to northern Italy, he takes up work as a peasant on the land of a local priest, while his oldest son Venancio (Massimo Ghini) starts driving a carriage. More of a visionary than a chauffeur, Venancio first gets involved in organizing the peasants into a kind of farmer's union, and when that movement goes under, he devotes himself to educating the farmers instead. Along the way, his mother dies, he marries Mariena (Anna Teresa Rossini), and they have children. Much to Venancio's sorrow, his own sons do not want to stay in farming, and as they grow older, only one remains at home to till the soil. In the meantime, the specter of fascism is growing stronger by the day and the clouds of war being to darken the horizon.