A stark, cold and powerful film from Hungarian director, Miklos Jancso. The setting is the desolate countryside some time after Kossuth's 1848 rebellion against the oppressive Habsburg Austrian Empire. Power has been restored to the oppressors but partisans are still carrying out violent actions. In order to root out the guerillas, the army rounds up suspects and jails them in an isolated detention camp. The authorities do not have the identity of the guerilla leaders, who are supposed to be present among the prisoners. However, they know enough about some of the suspects to apply perfidious forms of coercion effectively, spreading fear, mistrust and paranoia among the brooding mass of farmers, civilians and rebels.