It is spring 1809. Katharina’s Tyrolean husband, Franz, is arguing with a French soldier in Augsburg’s marketplace. The argument becomes more heated and results in an accidental death of the soldier. The young couple is forced to flee the city for Franz’s home land of Tyrol.

Along the way the couple realizes that the people in the Alpine land are at their breaking point and the mood is very dark. Bavaria and France have occupied Tyrol for years and are despised. This guarantees the Bavarian Katharina a most frigid welcome. She soon misses the warmth and comfort of her family in Augsburg. Having been away from his home land for so many years, Franz is quickly caught up in the enthusiasm of the independence movement around Andreas Hofer. He calls the Tyrolean farmers to rise up. Before long, Franz marches with his younger brother off to war, leaving Katharina alone in this very unfriendly place.

Reliant on herself for the very first time, Katharina undergoes struggle and hardship; but works diligently to master the tasks at hand. She soon wins the villagers’ respect. Against all odds, the Tryroleans return victorious from their battles. The villagers celebrate. Only Katharina and the village priest recognize that although the night belongs to them, a lasting victory is impossible. Forced to make a decision, Katharina decides to render Franz unfit for battle. But he discovers her plan, their relationship shatters and Katharina is expelled from the farm.

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