Gaetano, a quiet young man, lives near the bedside of his father and works alone to manage the family bakery. Although his French baguettes are well liked, as the Paris-born son of a Sicilian mother and French father, the village has never accepted him. When his wastrel elder brother dies committing a crime that results in the death of two others, Gaetano assumes his family responsibility to bury him next to their mother. But in this village, the weight of tradition is omnipotent. The mayor Enza enforces the law like an underworld don, declaring there is no place for bad people to be buried beside the good in the municipal cemetery. She denies Gaetano access to his brother's body. Enza's daughter Anna is Gaetano's lover. She witnesses his resolve and encourages Gaetano to take a stand for his family honor, even as doing so will put his life in danger.