The time is World War II and Juergen Siebusch (Thomas Stecher) and his mother (Gudrun Ritter) are retreating along with the German army, just ahead of the invading Russian forces. Both mother and son hole up in the town of Hohengoerse, where Juergen finds some work watching over sheep - and learns a bit about the facts of sheep life that he extrapolates to some advantage when he meets the appealing Amelie (Brit Guelland), daughter of the landowner. He first helps Amelie out and later applies his new-found knowledge in a barn, appropriately enough. As the Red Army draws near, Juergen deserts a hastily put-together "people's force," as he prefers the barn to the gun. Russian soldiers are shown sleeping and snoring next to their tanks, and the local fascist executed - the war is over. When the new Communist government sets up a land reform package, Amelie's mother's land gets divided up into small plots for small farmers. Amelie will have none of it and convinces Juergen to go with her to steal her mother's jewelry from their confiscated estate - not a good move for wholly inexperienced jewel thieves, boding ill for their immediate future.
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