Milan, Odeon Prandoni is a factory worker. One day, by chance, he meets Minnie Bennett, a corpulent woman. Minnie is the daughter of a rich American industrialist on a business trip to Italy. When she sees Odeon, she falls in love with him at first sight. Between romantic encounters and arguments due to their social differences, their initial acquaintance turns into an affectionate friendship.
However, Odeon is unable to overcome the barriers imposed by their social class differences. During a visit to Minnie's family, he suffers a humiliation that hurts his pride and rejects Minnie's love for the umpteenth time. Although his friend Aniello Capuozzo advises him to accept Minnie's love for the financial benefit it would bring, Odeon refuses, believing it is unfair to exploit Minnie's wealth.
Another woman, Rosa Petruccelli, enters Odeon's life and for a short time seems to be the best choice as his companion. However, the two women end up physically clashing for Odeon's sake. Tired of this situation, Odeon retires to his home and one night ends up drunk. Aniello, thinking he has attempted suicide, calls the fire brigade, and Odeon is taken to hospital. Minnie continues to try to convince him to marry her, but to no avail. Over time, Odeon realises that his only way out of hospital is to acquiesce to Minnie's wish, so he eventually relents.
A year later, Odeon is still a lowly worker with a child to raise, as Minnie has abandoned him. However, Minnie continues to send him letters and postcards from the places he travels to.