When seminarian Martin Rufmann arrives in St. Eustachen, idyllically located in the Carinthian mountains, the local choral society is celebrating a joyous festival. Martin is the youngest son of the widowed head forester Thomas Rufmann. Martin’s older brother Friedolin has inherited his father’s love of hunting and is one of the best hunters in the area. He is also engaged to the pretty innkeeper’s daughter Helene Schwarzaug. At the feast, Friedolin and his cronies drink heavily to the black liquor of the charcoal burner Krauthaas. Friedolin and the townspeople Günther have a loud argument in front of everyone. When Günther is found murdered a short time later, suspicion immediately falls on Friedolin. To save his brother, Martin accuses himself of the crime. The two brothers are arrested. The real culprit soon turns himself in, but in the meantime Thomas Rufmann has disappeared without a trace.
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