Told in a manner more common during the Franco era, this movie tells the story of a man who fought with the Republican forces during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) and has been hiding in the hills for 10 years. Local people help him avoid constant searches by the police, who know he is there. A returning exile seeks him out to try and get him to surrender, with tragic consequences for both of them.
Claude heads to New York upon receiving his draft notice, leaving the family ranch in Oklahoma. He arrives in New York where he is rapidly indoctrinated into the youth subculture before reporting in for boot camp.
Oskar Matzerath, son of a local dealer, is a most unusual boy. Equipped with full intellect right from his birth he decides at his third birthday not to grow up as he sees the crazy world around him at the eve of World War II.