Shot on location in Montreal, Rome and Sicily, the gripping true story of Joseph Bonanno continues, as he rises to the top of the Castellamarese Mafia family at age 26.
Faced with the growing power of Masseria family head "Lucky" Luciano, Joseph (Tony Nardi) negotiates a truce and establishes a commission of the five families controlling the city.
After marrying Fanny Labruzzo and having two children, Joseph turns his attention to politics. He rallies union members to support Franklin D. Roosevelt in his bid for re-election. Meanwhile, New York's Republican Attorney General, Thomas Dewey, declares "War on the Mob". Dewey's first big triumph is sending Luciano to jail. Luciano cuts a deal, offering to secure the docks against enemy sabotage during World War II, but the government reneges on its promise.
Joseph attempts to assist Luciano, using his influence in Sicily to organize anti-fascists in sabotaging German installations. Again, the government breaks its bargain and deports Luciano following the war. Troubled by the turmoil and threat to the “old order”, Joseph decides to retire and relocate his family to Arizona. In the process, Joseph's son, Bill, is arrested for smuggling guns into Mexico. Joseph manages to get his son released from jail and arranges for his confidante, Frank Labruzzo, to teach Bill the appropriate way to run family operations while still maintaining respect. Bill then meets and marries Rosalie Profaci.
Now firmly ensconced in Tucson, Joseph is called upon by his old Prohibition day rival, Joe Kennedy, to support the nomination of his son, John F. Kennedy for the Presidency. Joseph rallies other families, whose support for the Irish bootlegger's son is uncertain. Kennedy is elected and soon, Robert Kennedy begins his campaign against the Mafia. Two years later, JFK is assassinated, followed by rumors that mob bosses from Chicago, Tampa and New Orleans were involved.
Meanwhile, Joseph is arrested and forced to testify before the Grand Jury, but he pleads the Fifth Amendment and is released. However, his cousin, Buffalo Godfather Steve Maggadino kidnaps him, and Joseph's son, Bill, steps in to run the family. Upon Joseph's release, he ends the bloodshed by issuing an ultimatum that he will order the killing of one leader from each family unless the fighting stops. The New York Mafia families accept his terms and Joseph returns to Tucson.
In present-day Sicily, 93-year-old Joseph Bonanno pays tribute to his ancestors at the family cemetery. He laments the passing of the old traditions, but is grateful for the family that is now -- and always has been -- his greatest source of strength.