Ten Jews—nine men and Manyah, wife of Josef— flee the pogroms in Russia in the 1880's and find a farm on a hilltop in Galilee. We follow the first eventful year of these young Russian students after their arrival at the dilapidated stone house in their new land, which was at that time one of the most primitive and desolate sections of the Turkish Empire. Despite set-backs including quarrels with the Arabs, a ban on building by the Turkish overlords. the defection of two of the settlers, heavy rain and later drought, the pioneers continue ploughing and planting to prepare what will one day be their village.
How they become adjusted to the wild, yet beautiful desert, and the hostile, suspicious Arabs, is told in a direct and affecting manner. Gari Bertini's score makes effective and charming use of some Yiddish-Hebraic folk themes.