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Greco-American gambler and folk philosopher Matsoukas, a paragon of integrity, ekes out a marginal existence in Chicago. When his seven-year-old son Stavros is diagnosed as terminally ill, Matsoukas is convinced that only the sun of his native Athens can cure the boy. Pressed for air fare to Greece, Matsoukas begs from his generous friend Cicero, who dies before he can honor the request. Although they are lovers, the widow Anna, proprietress of a local bakery, denies him a loan. Desperate for money, Matsoukas loads his dice. Discovered and shamed, he permits himself to be beaten mercilessly. In his absence, his wife Caliope steals her mother's savings, enabling father and son to return to the homeland.