A new magistrate arrives in a baking, crumbling Sicilian village over which Il Barone and his henchmen hold sway. Battling against corruption and inertia, he eventually achieves ... well, nothing much. A murderer is arrested, but at the end Il Barone is still in situ, and despite Rustichelli's thunderous musical salutes, the magistrate still looks to have an impossible mountain to climb. The Mafia charge about the countryside on horseback, a law unto themselves but, it says here, a force for good if appealed to in the right terms. The sense is of Germi and Co desperately wanting to appear positive and optimistic about Sicily's social order, but conceding implicitly that such a response is hardly justified. The movie's climax was featured in Cinema Paradiso, where the villagers award it a rousing cheer.