August 2nd, 1914. War has been declared and there is a general call-up. Jeanne and Marie, heiresses to the La Laouza oil mill, say goodbye to their husbands. The two young women soon realize that a heavy burden rests on their shoulders now that they have to run the property alone. They desperately need assistants to help at the mill, so Jeanne offers jobs to three women from the village.
There is soon bad news from the front. Marie's husband has been demobilised with an injury that has left him permanently blind. Marie cannot accept the idea of spending the rest of her life as a blind man's caretaker. Her attitude brings her into conflict with the other women who are still waiting for their husbands to return.
While the fighting drags on at the front, work continues at the mill with the women doing what they must to survive.