In this docudrama, the real star is a railroad tunnel. First built, at the instigation of a banker and an engineer, in 1872 under appalling conditions, it was widened to accommodate automobiles in 1972. The tunnel links the Rhineland in Germany with Italy and goes through the Swiss mountains. The many lives lost in the building of the first tunnel were considered to be one of the costs for economic progress. In one re-enactment, a strike for better conditions is severely dealt with by the military. Even in 1972, though working conditions were better, most of the men working on the tunnel were poor immigrant workers, with almost no power to negotiate better treatment.