The vast panoramas of Tibet serve as backdrop for the exquisitely photographed Horse Thief. The titular character plies his underhanded trade in order to support his family. He is released after a long incarceration, while his family nearly starves to death. They wander the countryside in search of honest work, but can only survive when the father reverts to thievery. The film is quite revelatory in delineating a Chinese social structure that virtually forces those with no discernible skills to be criminals.