The story follows Zorba as he talks his way into traveling with Nikos, a young American who has inherited an abandoned mine on Crete. Eventually, Zorba falls in love with a French woman, Hortense. Meanwhile Nikos falls in love with The Widow. Tragedy ensues when Zorba loses all of his money to a belly dancer. Further, a mentally unstable man, Pavli, commits suicide after witnessing Nikos and the Widow together. Then, a member of Pavli's family murders The Widow.