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During the Depression, Gloria and Robert enter a dance marathon in return for three square meals a day and a chance at winning the big-money prize. Under the intense scrutiny of the media, corporate sponsors and obsessive fans, the competing couples are put through a series of gruelling and humiliating feats of endurance, until they begin to fight among themselves and betray each other. As days and weeks go by, the tension reaches boiling point, and this pitch-black tale of desire and desperation heads towards a violent conclusion.