In a small Spanish village, Gloria, the imperious head of a troubled family, is devoted to her two sons. The brothers, Óscar and Juan, have frequent violent disputes. Óscar, the oldest, and his steel-willed mother run the family's grocery store called el Jardín (The Garden), which does a brisk business in the black market. Juan is the handsome, irresponsible, best-loved second son. When Oscar marries his lover Ana, Juan heads for Madrid to work for Franco. He also leaves behind his impoverished cousin, Ángela, pregnant with his son. Jump ten years. Juanito, their son, has rheumatic fever. The doctor says to pamper the boy. Years later, Óscar and Ana remain childless. Gloria wants to bring her illegitimate (and incestuous) grandson and only heir, into the family circle. As Juanito recovers, Juan returns in desperate need of cash; Juanito witnesses a theft blamed on his innocent mother. Things come to a head at a saint's-name party for father and son. Jealousies, betrayals, and a bullet converge.