In a small Italian village, Maria De Ritis is engaged to army Lieutenant Pietro Stelluti. Stelluti's superior officer, Marshal Antonio Carotenuto, is contemplating marriage to Annarella Mirziano, but he will be forced to resign if he marries Annarella, since she has an illegitimate child and that is against regulations for army officers. When Stelluti leaves town for a few weeks, the town-gossips create an affair out of the innocent relationship between Maria and Antonio. Stelluti returns and accuses Maria of infidelity, and, she, in reprisal, runs off and joins a traveling theatrical troupe as a dancer. Antonio, after convincing Annarella that he has not betrayed her love, encounters more trouble when the father of Annarella's child shows up and asks that she and the child go away with him. Antonio tells Annarella that it is her decision to make, and she chooses the child's father and leaves with him. Maria arrives back in town, as does an earthquake that destroys her home, but she ...
Ettore Maria Margadonna (story), Luigi Comencini (story), Ettore Maria Margadonna (screenplay), Luigi Comencini (screenplay), Eduardo De Filippo (screenplay), Vincenzo Talarico (screenplay)