North-eastern Brazil. The present day.
Firmino Santos Guerra is a rich landowner, a widower with two uncontrollable sons called José Tranquillo and Arcanjo. Firmino dreams of reconquering the heart of Filomena Capodoccio, the woman he had an affair with thirty years ago. Like him, she is also a rich landowner and is married with five children.
Filomena brusquely rejects Firmino’s advances and in revenge, he orders all the male members of the Capodocio family to be killed.
After the massacre, Filomena summons her three daughters, Maria Francisca, Maria Rosa and Maria Pia and tells them that they must avenge the family by killing the three Santos Guerras, but indirectly.
Maria Francisca must find Zè das Cobras, who runs a cobra farm and is also a mercenary. Maria Rosa is charged with finding Captain Tenorio, the local chief of police, whose skill with the knife and the machete are the talk of the region. Maria Pia, the baby of the family is ordered to go to an overcrowded jail in Recife to organise the escape of Jesuino Cruz, also known as “The Devil’s Horse”.
Although Francisca, Rosa and Pia are not told the reasons that lead to the blood feud, their hearts are full of a desire for revenge and they set out on their journeys.