A poor family struggles to survive in the slums of Cairo in this depressing social melodrama. Aicha is the widowed matriarch who uses her savvy to avoid tragic calamities. Soon even her considerable efforts can't save her family from the inevitable problems of lower-class poverty, and her daughters resort to drawing up marriage contracts to find husbands. One women marries the oily Orabi, who later seduces his wife's sister. The youngest is a ten-year-old boy who runs away from home and becomes a beggar in the streets.