Turiddù is the son of Lucia, who runs the village shop. He was dating Lola, but she eventually married another man, Alfio. Angered by this, Turiddù seduced Santuzza, a very religious girl. But Turiddù is still in love with Lola, and she, disillusioned with her new marriage, misses him as well.
On Easter Sunday morning, Santuzza visits Lucia to confront her about Turiddù’s behaviour. Alfio arrives with his newly acquired car – the only taxi in the village. Santuzza tells Lucia of her betrayal by Turiddù, and the community assembles to celebrate the Easter Mass.
Santuzza confronts Turiddù over his affair with Lola, which he angrily denies. But when Lola arrives, Turiddù can’t help but join her, leaving Santuzza alone. Consumed by rage and grief, Santuzza tells Alfio about his wife’s affair with Turiddù. Alfio swears vengeance. At the end of the service, the people leave the church. Turiddù challenges Alfio and then offers him a drink, which Alfio refuses, claiming it would turn to poison inside him.
Overwhelmed by guilt, Turiddù realizes how badly he has hurt Alfio, Lola, Santuzza and his mother. He asks Lucia for forgiveness, and meets his fate.