It is winter in the village of Kautokeino in northern Norway. The year is 1852. Elen comes down from the mountain plateau to the general store to fetch her husband, Mathis. Ruth, the merchant, refuses to let Elen take the supplies Mathis has bought, since Mathis has accrued a substantial drinking debt. Mathis is drunk and causes trouble, and only his brother Aslak manages to keep Ruth's bookkeeper Bucht from beating Mathis to a pulp.

To make up for the debt, Ruth and Bucht butcher ten of Mathis and Elen's reindeer. Aslak's job is to pick up supplies for Ruth in Karesuando, and he has also smuggled liquor from Finland for him. When he sees how his brother Mathis is humiliated, and when Ruth demands that Aslak transport the freshly butchered animals, Aslak refuses, and Ruth fires him. Elen packs her drunk husband into their sled and goes to the church in Karesuando. The revavalist preacher Laestadius has gotten many men to stop drinking, and Mathis also becomes a convert. He stops drinking, to the joy of Elen and their six-year-old son Little Aslak.

Norway / Sweden / Denmark 2008