In the drought areas of Northeastern of Brazil, groups of migrants move trying to find better place to live, at least with water. Some of them go to Recife, to get a vessel to Santos expecting to have a better life in the Southern. In the poor area of Recife, an old washerwoman launders clothes to survive and support her family. Her husband Zé Luis, a former sailor, is crazy due to a hit of the boom of a mast on his head. Her older son Raimundo works in a grocery and selling mangoes on the street, trying to save money to move to the Southeastern with his girl-friend Aurora. Her daughter wants to be a prostitute to have a better quality of life. Her younger son is seriously sick.