1943, Italy's Salentino peninsula. Tony, an American fighter pilot, raised speaking Italian in New York, parachutes to safety and is hidden at the olive farm of Carmine, a man with three daughters. One is being courted by Pasquale, the son of the area's largest landowner. It is she, Cosima, whom Tony falls for. He gets to know her through the rhythms of the farm and a traditional way of life, expressed in spontaneous song and in pizzicatas (a courtship dance; a dance that enacts a knife fight between men; and, the frenzied tarantata - a woman's dance exorcising passion). As Carmine protects Tony and as Cosima begins to love him, Pasquale does not go gently.