In 1755, Captain Ludvig Kahlen, an impoverished Danish officer of humble birth, retires after 25 years of service from the German Army with a measly pension to his native Denmark and obtains a permission from the Royal Danish Court to build a property on the barren Jutland moorland for land cultivation. He hopes to establish a settlement on that property, and in return for that he requests from the Court a privilege of a noble title with an associated manor. Soon after arriving at the site of his prospective homestead, he comes into conflict with Frederik de Schinkel, a local magistrate at the nearby Hald Manor and a merciless landowner who has been trying to monopolize ownership of the moorland. De Schinkel does his utmost to make workforce unavailable to Kahlen, who covertly employs and harbors Johannes Eriksen and his wife Ann Barbara, two of de Schinkel's indentured serf farmers serfs who broke their contract and fled Frederik's mistreatment. He also hires the "Tatere" Romani Travellers as workers, though that practice is illegal. In the meantime, de Schinkel's cousin and betrothed Edel Helene is not interested in marrying him, but her father insists on the marriage due to de Schinkel's substantial wealth, unless she can come up with an alternative suitor within a year. She meets Kahlen secretly and the two share an understanding that if Kahlen can acquire a noble title within the year, they will marry, offering her an escape from the unwanted union with her cousin. Johannes is recaptured by de Schinkel's men and put to death as an escaped serf by his former master. Seeing this, the Travellers leave Kahlen's employment. Despite all the travails and tribulations, Kahlen manages to plant the potatoes brought from Germany and harvest 80 sacks; when the King hears the tidings, he orders the establishment of a settlement on Kahlen's estate. Kahlen is conferred the title of Royal Surveyor and 50 settlers from Northern Germany are sent to his land. De Schinkel has nearby convicts attack the new settlement, killing people and animals. In return, Kahlen and a few settlers attack and kill the perpetrators in their hideout. De Schinkel's officer Preisler, witnesses the killing and flees. De Schinkel, along with his fellow estate owners, reports this to the king's cabinet; the new settlement's lands' ownership gets transferred to De Schinkel and Kahlen is arrested. While Kahlen is being tortured at De Schinkel's estate, Ann Barbara sneaks in and prepares a poisoned drink, and Edel gives the drink to De Schinkel. While he is incapacitated, Ann Barbara comes in and stabs him to death. Butler Bondo explains everything to the king's cabinet; Kahlen is released, Ann Barbara is imprisoned for life and Edel returns to her home in Norway. With all new settlers left, Kahlen brings Anmai Mus, a gypsy girl he had to send to oprhanage after settlers complained, and the two start living in the farm. A few years later, an officer visiting Kahlen informs that he is granted the title of baron and 400 new settlers will be arriving soon. Before that happens, Anmai Mus leaves with a travelling gypsy group. Kahlen leaves the moor and his title is annulled. Later, Ann Barbara is seen broken out of a travelling prisoner cart and she and Kahlen ride a horse towards the sea.