Based on a Spanish classic by Juan Valera, this film respectfully and effectively handles its potentially melodramatic story, and received critical acclaim in its native land. In the story, Luis de Varga (Peter Day) is a young man who has been studying for the priesthood. He is returning to his hidalgo (large landowner) father's home in Andalusia for a vacation. The father, Pedro de Vargas (Stanley Baker), is an educated man with a generous and sensitive nature. Among his concerns is to improve the condition of the peasantry. Pedro is preparing to marry a lively young widow, Pepita Jimenez (Sarah Miles). When Luis comes on the scene, he tries to sidestep the feelings he quickly develops for Pepita, but the two eventually make love. Not wishing to endanger his father's plans, he leaves before his vacation is over and returns to the seminary. Pedro discovers what has happened and is properly furious, but before long he generously makes it possible for Luis to return and marry the lovely Pepita.
by Clarke Fountain synopsis