Prompted by dating adverts in local newspapers, Kwiatkowska goes to the countryside to meet single men who are looking for wives to help them with both farming and work around the house. At the beginning of the film, interviews with young peasants and their mothers are intercut with road signs bearing the names of their villages. Some of the men suggest that it’s hard to survive in the countryside on their own, hence the film’s title.
The narrator puts the interviews in perspective when we hear that there are thousands of these men across the country, for whom ‘loneliness isn’t only a private issue’; on small farms, it becomes a serious social problem.
Rather than looking for an emotionally rewarding partnership, the men seem to be searching for a pair of hands to help them with the workload.
As we visit traditional peasant houses and their adjacent courtyards, we learn from their owners about the characteristics of their ideal candidates for relationships. One criterion always stands out: ‘She needs to be well skilled at work on the farm’.
As the camera offers further images from the villages and houses, the single men keep citing the reasons for their desperation to get married: ‘In the countryside, you can’t do much on your own. Single people have an easier life in the city’.
As we listen to the men, we also learn about some standards of living in the countryside, as well the local dating routines. For example, one of Kwiatkowska’s interviewees is seriously worried that at the age of twenty-nine he is already too old to get married.
In the second half of the film, we meet the same men after half a year has passed to learn that only one of them found a girl, named Bożenka, whom he is about to marry. Even though she comes from a city, she proved to be hard-working enough to take on the challenge of running his farm.
Another man had to miss the scheduled interview with the film crew because he left for another village where he met a woman, as we learn from his mother.
The rest of the bachelors have received some photographs of potentially strong female candidates for wives but have had no luck yet.
Kwiatkowska closes with a visit to the house where Bożenka is now in charge. The couple looks very happy together.