In the winter of 1942-43, a Jewish family leaps from a train going through Silesia. They are separated in the woods, and Leon, a local peasant who's now a farmer of some wealth, discovers the woman, Rosa, and hides her in his cellar. Leon's a middle-aged Catholic bachelor, tormented by his sexual drive. He doesn't tell Rosa he's seen signs her husband is alive, and he begs her to love him. Rosa offers herself to Leon if he'll help a local Jew in hiding who needs money. Leon pays, and love between Rosa and him does develop, but then Leon's peasant subservience and his limited empathy lead to tragedy. At the war's end, a ray of sunshine comes from an unexpected place.