On the verge of despair, Domenico, an unemployed man from Turin, decides to rob a bank in Como and flee to nearby Switzerland. Clumsy as he is, everything goes wrong. The only way out for Domenico is to kidnap the first customer at hand: Tommaso, an aggressive and unscrupulous entrepreneur. His business, however, is going very badly, he is on the brink of failure and a future of debts, protests and derision from his colleagues awaits him. Tommaso comes to see the kidnapping and escape as an opportunity to disappear and make a fresh start. The two men leave the bank together and switch roles: Tommaso persuades Domenico to flee not northwards but southwards, to Apulia, where they can catch a ship to North Africa. Domenico reluctantly agrees. Tommaso is at loggerheads with his wife and leaves her with few regrets. His young daughter Rita, however, is not too happy to see her father go. During the car journey, the situation becomes clearer, much to Domenico's surprise: Tommaso is entertaining a homosexual relationship with Orfeo, a policeman who got himself posted to Apulia. Rita unexpectedly shows up and Domenico, who at first pretends to be gay, embarks on a timid relationship with her, despite her father's opposition. Domenico's sister Carmela, an impudent, fat and blind woman, arrives from a nursing home. After some bickering and more or less serious contrasts, the policeman leaves the group. The other four characters embark on an old wreck of a ship steered by a heavy drinker by the name of Ermes. From Egypt they send a letter to Orfeo, to say that everything is going fine. But this is not really true at all, and Domenico asks: “How about a bank?”.