A young, strong-willed girl called Cainà, tired of the small village life and its narrow-minded mentality, decides to leave the island and secretly boards a ship directed to Italy (or 'the continent,' as people from Sa...展开rdinia commonly call it) and hides in the hold. Her escape unfortunately ends soon, when the captain finds her. Meanwhile Cainà's father, in an attempt to find his escaping daughter, will find his death in a storm. Once on the mainland, Cainà is offered accommodation at the captain's house and soon will have to face the sad reality: she is a young woman on the run and as such she is not accepted by the captain's family, she is obstracised and finally driven to leave. Returning to Sardinia, Cainà discovers that her attempt to improve her life has only won her the anger and resentment of the 'betrayed' village; finally she will be murdered by her lover, Agostineddu, driven insane by her absence. The movie closes with Cainà's body on the rocks, washed by the waves, the same sea which once represented her pathway to 'real' life.