In a desolate corner of the Sicilian countryside, a family's apparently changeless life of hardship and toil is interrupted by tales of the New World and its inhabitants, of the riches of this paradise. Salvatore makes the momentous decision to sell all he has - his land, his home, his livestock - and to take his children and aged mother to a better life across the ocean. As Salvatore embarks on his epic journey, he meets a mysterious English woman, Lucy (Charlotte Gainsbourgh), and their destinies begin to entwine as, amid a harrow crossing, a love story begins to unfold. To become citizens of the New World, they must die a little and be reborn. They must leave behind the antiquated customs and superstitions of their homeland - they must be strong in body and healthy in mind, learn to obey and swear loyalty - if they wish to pass through the Golden Door.