The film follows the fate of three different women with the same name of Lucia during key moments in Cuban History. The Cuban War of Independance, the 1930's and lastly the 1960'slt tells the stories of three Lucias, one in 1895, when the Cubans fought for independence from the Spaniards (a situation that resolved with U.S. intervention and purchase of Cuba from Spain); in 1933, when Cuban popular resistance against the dictator Geraldo Machado resulted in failure; and 196-, in the aftermath of the victory of the revolution led by Fidel Castro. They are women from three different classes: The first is upper class, the second is from the middle class, the third working class. They have three different ranges of potential action, and responses.
Each story is hung on a love drama. In the first, the woman has an affair with a Spanish soldier, in which she must betray her own family. In the second, a young woman abandons her family and class to go underground with her soon-to-be-slain husband; in the third, a young wife learns how to read and write and work in collective agriculture, in spite of a traditionally macho husband who tries to keep her in the house.
The battles sequences have been compared to the great ferocity of Orson Welles "Chimes at Midnight". The use of extreme close ups and long shots anticipates the works of Sergio Leone.