A newlywed couple comes to a small Mexican village to spend a year painting. After helping an orphaned child with an injury, they unexpectedly end up as his parents. Once word gets around, other kids beat a path to their door hoping also to be adopted.
The story of Alphonse Bertillion, a low level employee of the French police, who developed a theory of identifying suspects by their unique physical measurements, like the size of the head. At first his superiors are skeptical, but statistics taken of a man in question exposes his guilt in a murder case.
Longing to move up in the world and escape their ordinary lives, the Johnson family pin all their hopes on a sweepstakes ticket. When their ticket becomes one of twenty finalists, temptation to sell it before the prize is selected wears on them, but they win it. Afterward, what looked like a life of ease turns into problems and heartache.