In the 1880s, a baby Norwegian girl is separated from her parents and found by Sami herdsman Jampa (Larssen). She’s then raised by a nomadic tribe of Samis (referred to as Laplanders in the film), and grows up to be Laila (Martenson), the beloved adopted daughter of wealthy trader Aslag Lagje (Malberg). On a trip to town, Laila meets Anders (Schwenzen) and they fall in love, unaware that they are actually first cousins. Other barriers also exist: Lapps and Norwegians are not supposed to marry, and Laila is betrothed to her stepbrother Mellet (Gleditsch). Will true love win out?
Danish/German director Schneevoigt worked as a cinematographer for the great Carl Dreyer and his keen eye for beauty is on full display here, with awe-inspiring landscapes and sweeping Scandinavian vistas. His touch with the actors proves masterful too; especially affecting is Larssen as the doting, paternal Jampa. The love story is framed by some fantastic action scenes, featuring wolf attacks, river rapids and reindeer/sled races, all shot on stunning Norwegian locations. The lovely Martenson, who trained with Greta Garbo, brings spirit and vitality to her role. Eye-opening in its depiction of Nordic customs and folk costumes, this exciting, gorgeous epic romance is a neglected, not-to-be-missed classic.