Quebec, 1758. François Le Gardeur (David La Haye
) is a daring, adventurous young man, who, years earlier, rejected his bourgeois family and left to roam the forests with the natives ("Les Sauvages" to the French). Returning from a hunting trip, he hastens back to Quebec on word of his father's poor health and arrives too late. But he arrives to an inheritance that will bring him grief. Le Gardeur soon discovers that his father was wheeling and dealing on a massive scale with Intendant Francois Bigot (Vincent Perez
) -- financial scams that eventually contribute to the fall of New France.
The day after his return, in a case of love at first sight, Le Gardeur meets the miller's daughter Marie-Loup (Noemie Godin-Vigneau) at the market square. Belying her modest origins, Marie-Loup is a determined young woman, ahead of her time in her independence. The parish priest Father Blondeau (Gerard Depardieu) publicly criticizes her outspokenness and free spirit -- though his rebukes are tinged with indulgence, born of a secret love for her. Moreover, her friendship with "the savages" is gossiped about by the locals. She’s rumoured to have "witch’s powers" because she uses the shaman’s remedies for healing the sick.
What follows with their entanglement is a tale of faith and abandonment that touches everyone. It encompasses Father Blondeau, whose faith leads him to resist the invader by aligning himself to him; France which abandons its children to the will of the British, and Le Gardeur who faces giving up everything he loves.