Swedish immigrants Karl-Oskar Nilsson (von Sydow) and his wife Kristina (Ullman) arrive in Minnesota in 1850 to start a new life. They build a house and till the land and Kristina gives birth to a fourth child. Karl-Oskar’s brother Robert (Axberg) sets off for the West, tempted by stories of California gold, but returns years later. The Nilssons toil to improve their lot, while the Civil War and the Dakota Sioux uprising threaten their hard-earned existence.
Picking up where it left off in “The Emigrants,” this epic saga continues with its closely detailed observation of nineteenth century immigrant life. Vilhelm Moburg’s novels come alive under the assured direction of Troell and lived-in performances of stars von Sydow and Ullman. Farming, chores, childbirth---all are endowed with dramatic heft in this Oscar-nominated masterwork that evokes the challenging, often perilous settling of an untamed country called America.