Paulino and Carmela are husband and wife, troubadours touring the countryside during the Spanish Civil War. They are Republicans, and with their mute assistant, Gustavete, they journey into rebel territory by mistake. They are arrested, fear a firing squad, and receive a reprieve from an Italian Fascist commander who loves the theatre. He arranges a performance for his troops, bargaining with Paulino to stage a burlesque of the republic in exchange for the actors' freedom. Will the fiery and patriotic Carmela consent?