In September 1810, Napoleonic trrops. led by Marshal Masséna, invade Portugal. During the Battle of Bussaco, Masséna is defeated. Nevertheless, Portuguese and British troops, under the command of Lord Wellington, beat a retreat. Wellington thus hopes to draw the enemy to Torres Vedras, where he has had impassable fortifications lines constructed.
This strategy, combined with a burnt earth operation, plunges civil populations into exodus.
Accompanying the soldiers in their march, an entire population must submit to the devastation of war on a daily basis, while crossing through villages in ruins, burnt down forests, and destroyed crops. Some reaffirm their desire to resist the invader, while others take advantage of the general confusion to give free rein to their baser instincts. The whirlwind of history sweeps together the individual and romantic destinies of many individuals, such as Lieutenant Pedro de Alencar, the young Englishwoman Clarissa Warren, the itinerant merchant Pena Branca, Sergeant Francisco Xavier, and Martirío the prostitute. All converge on the lines of Torres Vedras, where the final battle will decide the fate of each and every one.