After the 8th September 1943 north of Italy is occupied by Germans. Italian army collapsed and the soldiers are escaped to the mountains trying to set up a resistance. Many civilians did the same and Johnny, an English literature student, is among them. Johnny avoids to band together the red partisans (communists) and tries to be part of the azure bands (former regular soldiers). But in both cases he is deluded by the partisan bands and discovers that the partisan war is less poetic and genuine that he thought. At one point anyway the partisans free Alba from Germans. When the city falls again in German hands Johnny escape with Ettore and Pierre. But, one after another, German army and Italian fascists captures the partisans and Johnny will pass the winter alone and isolated. He then finds the way to participate to one of the last attack to occupants, in fact the war will be over two months later.