For personal and humanitarian reasons, Edoardo, a Ligurian sea captain, agrees to run a shipment of arms to Bosnian rebels for a shady Russian in Toulon who calls himself Riffaud. Edoardo's lover Clara wants him to quit the sea and Riffaud's wife warns Edoardo not to trust her husband, but Edoardo takes the job anyway. Sailing up the Adriatic, the crew threatens mutiny when they learn they must dock in a war zone. Once in port, little goes as Riffaud promised, and Edoardo must travel with a translator to the rebels' mountain stronghold to get payment for the crew. The war is all around them as Clara waits at home and the translator begs passage to Italy.