The story takes place in the 1920s in a remote area of the Aurassian mountains in Eastern Algeria, an area that is frequently devastated by long winters, famine, and disease. Brahim, a master craftsman, is one of the wealthiest men in the region. Married to Nakla and Gamra, who have failed to bear his children, he decides to marry for a third time, hoping that a third wife will provide him with an heir before he is too old.
Forced to marry the aging Brahim, Fadah, a beautiful, healthy twenty-year-old woman joins the two other wives in a household that is cut off from the rest of the community. Only Brahim has contact with others and leaves to go to the village once a month to deliver his pottery and buy supplies.
One day, Brahim hires a young man, Hemna, to do work on the property. A few months later, Fadah shows all signs of a pregnant woman…