Meant to reflect the harsh realities of segments of society in 1960s, Franco-era Spain, this slow-moving, drawn-out story is about a struggling, impoverished family who work on the estate of a wealthy aristocrat. Paco is the head of his small family who constantly tries to placate his irascible overlords and also teaches them how to hunt birds. His wife R?gula is as subservient as Paco. The family is rounded out by a mute, crippled daughter, a son away at military service, and Azarias, an uncle whose mental stability is in question. These individuals are contrasted with Se?or Iv?n who rules over them with a detached incomprehension that brands the family as not much different than the animals he hunts. The se?or has no compunction about shooting Azarias's pet bird, or forcing Paco to continue with a bird hunt even though he has fallen and broken his leg. Given the insane behavior of the aristocratic Iv?n, the half-crazy Azarias might be the only one to get through to him on his own level.