Switzerland, 1955. The young orphan Max is sent as a foster child and contracted to work for the Bösiger family who lives on a farm. His foster parents treat him like a workhorse while their son seizes every opportunity to humiliate him. Playing the accordion is the one thing that is entirely his. But when the new teacher stands up for Max, it only makes a bad situation much worse. The only thing preserving his will to survive is his friendship with Berteli, who was also taken on to work at the farm. Max dreams of Argentina with her: a fantasy world, where allegedly even hayforks are made of silver.
Germany, 1945. Soldier Willi Herold, a deserter of the German army, stumbles into a uniform of Nazi captain abandoned during the last and desperate weeks of the Third Reich. Newly emboldened by the allure of a suit that he has stolen only to stay warm, Willi discovers that many Germans will follow the leader, whoever he is.