Marco is a cultivated and intelligent priest. The death of his spiritual "foster father" places him in a difficult situation: not only does he have to take over the latter's old parish, he also has to continue the late priest's work as a chaplain in the local prison. For the first time in his life, Don Marco is confronted by those living on the fringes of society. Soon little Picchio, an orphan, is his constantly cheerful companion. Marco helps his "new flock" wherever he can, because the prisoners not only have their own tragic situations to cope with but also whole families with serious problems. One day Marco meets Maria, the daughter of one of the prisoners, who has become a prostitute in order to pay her father's legal costs. When the young girl falls in love with him, the priest is put to a severe test. After a great deal of inner strife, Marco finally decides that his job as a priest should come first.