The outlines of this story are those of a symbolic religious fable while much of the working out is simple movie characterization and trick editing. A despised old dark skinned, mixed blooded sub-peasant, who is a charcoal maker (and black with his trade), discovers a statue of the Virgin Mary submerged in a stream. He carts it to his hut, which he turns into a shrine. Wicked neighbors turn him in to the police, who brutally torture him to reveal where some jewels are that were in the statue. He doesn't know. The village president (mayor) and the chief of police fear that the theft will cause an investigation by higher authorities and show up their chicanery. Also, an atheistic priest fears much the same treatment from higher church authorities. The revelation of who actually stole the jewels is cleverly withheld until the climax when the gems are recovered and a young priest who had always loathed the statue as a symbol of graft and idolatry goes to his martyrdom. As does the charcoal maker, in a blaze of Mariolatry. The writing is never dull or logy, but the final impact is just too obviously rigged.