A badly-wounded stranger awakens from a fever to find himself in a cabin being attended to by a mysterious Indian woman. He has no memory of who he is, or how he came to be there. He learns that he is in New France, Quebec and that he was shot in a hunting accident while wandering the nearby woods.
He adopts the name Jacob and slowly rebuilds his life amid the religiously conservative society of New France. He becomes a successful businessman and falls in love. At the height of his prosperity, he is forced into bankruptcy and becomes a reluctant participant in New France's struggle for political autonomy. Following a violent mass protest, he is falsely imprisoned on a murder charge.
Years pass before he is finally set free-having endured the loss of his beloved wife while still imprisoned. Embittered and grieving, he struggles to find purpose in a world to which he has become a stranger.