England 14th century. Plague and attacks threaten remote communities and the forests that surround them add nameless terrors. The people labor under the yoke of two oppressive powers -- the Church laying claim to their souls and the Knights, the feudal warlords, who command life or death. Nicholas (Paul Bettany), a young priest, is discovered in the act of adultery by a husband who dies in the ensuing struggle. Appalled by his fall from grace, he turns his back on the Church and goes on the run.