Set in the years just after World War I at an upper-class winter spa, this period drama concerns the sickly son, Edmund (David Eberts), of American diplomat Mr. Tuchman (Ian Richardson). Edmund is accompanied to the spa with his ice-boned mother Sonya (Faye Dunaway) to recuperate from an asthmatic condition. At the spa, Edmund meets a dashing baron (Klaus Maria Brandauer), who regales Edmund with tales of his wartime exploits and takes him on long trips in his car and into the woods to explore a decaying tower. The Baron suffers from a hidden depression. Sonya, too, suffers from a depression exacerbated by years of a passionless marriage. Inevitably, these two manic souls find each other and have an affair. But now Edmund becomes jealous, and even his well-placed asthma attacks can't break Sonya and The Baron apart. So Edmund, his innocent boyhood shattered forever, takes off to Vienna to expose the affair to his father.