Gabriela (Sonia Braga) is a Brazilian beauty who wanders into the village of Parati in search of water during a drought. Local bar owner Nacib (Marcello Mastroianni), touched by her free spirit and beauty, hires her to work for him. Soon enough he realizes that she does not go unnoticed by the male customers and he tries everything in his powers to keep her all to himself. Set in 1925 the movie follows the passionate Gabriela as she evolves from a cook, to being Nacib's love interest and eventually his wife while he tries to tame her sensual nature. Gabriela's beauty and the lustful effect she has on the villagers, combined with her peasant ways and her reluctance to conform to his wishes, put Nacib's boundaries to the test. With jealousy and betrayal suffocating their relationship, the passion they have for each other will lead them to paths none of them had ever imagined.