Once the Cuban revolution had ended in 1959, a small village was mired in a perplexing and potentially unsolvable problem: how were they to put a giant U.S. nickel processing plant back into working order when anyone who knew how to run it had already left the country? At first it looked like the Americans might stay on, but as history demonstrates, that did not happen, and the villagers were left with one sole worker who had any idea at all about how the machinery in the plant was meant to function. After some hesitation in the face of this task (some suspect caused by a dubious attitude toward the new regime), the man sets to work and against all odds, gets the plant running again. With the revolution over and stablization a goal, families begin to break up as some leave the country and others stay behind - tragedies that tore people apart since they knew even then that the separation would be permanent. Illustrating this theme is the young José who returns from his stint in the Cuban army to find out that his wife Fabiana had remarried, thinking him dead. José is heartbroken, especially when he thinks of their son. Fabiana had married someone of the upper classes and was more interested in a life spent in the "best" of circles, while José remained commited to the peasant class. Fabiana decides to leave Cuba for the U.S., even if it means leaving their son with José. As this and other personal stories unfold against the struggles to get the nickel processing plant functioning again, glimpses of the cost of the revolution in human (and technical) terms are brought home.