Covering several years, the story of the southern Italian peasant Parondi family, and their traditions of a family first mentality at any cost as fostered by the family matriarch, is told. The story has five segments in chronological order with each segment focusing on a different Parondi brother in order of age. Vincenzo's segment begins when their just widowed mother, Rosaria, brings her four younger offspring to Milan - where oldest Vincenzo has been living - in order for her sons to eke out a more promising future than what their unproductive piece of farm land could. Their arrival disrupts Vincenzo's life, he, as the oldest, who is expected to figure out how they will survive without jobs or a place to live. Simone's segment describes how the change to big city life affects him the most of the brothers. He shows natural ability as a boxer, but despite some promising results, does not cultivate this promise perhaps due to self-doubt. He begins a relationship with a prostitute named Nadia, who entered the Parondi's life soon after their arrival in the city. Simone and Nadia's relationship ends without much fanfare and in part due to Nadia's circumstance. Rocco's segment begins during his two year stint in the military. He is the loyal, sensitive brother, who reconnects with Nadia by chance. They fall in love, which, for the first time ever makes Nadia truly care about what happens to her. The question becomes what Simone will think when he finds out about their relationship. In Ciro's segment, Ciro, having gained an education and now working in the Alfa Romeo factory, is proving to be the practical brother. As their family unit is disintegrating, Ciro, through his words, tries to figure out how to hold the family together in its most promising collective. Regardless, Rocco, using the bottled up emotions inside him, is now the family breadwinner, he who will go to any length to keep the family together, even in its current dysfunctional form. And in a now teenaged Luca's segment, the questions of whether their lives would have been any different than how it has turned out if they stayed on the family farm, and what the future holds for them as a family in light of or despite what has happened to them since their arrival in Milan are raised.