And the story begins... Småland, Sweden in the 19th century.


Kristina has always been very fond of swinging in her swing, especially today when she is waiting for her beloved Karl-Oskar to come. Today he brings her a very joyous message; he wants them to finally get married as they have both wanted for so long. He has bought the farm from his crippled father and is now nobody's employee.

They get married and start a life together in a Swedish countryside marked by starvation and poverty. It is hard to grow anything in the stony soil. Four years pass, but it doesn´t get any better. They have children to feed and Kristina tries to comfort Karl-Oskar with her belief that God will take care of them.

Robert is Karl-Oskar's younger brother and he has always been a dreamer. He doesn´t want to be a servant. He has read about the new country, the new continent in the West, where everything seems like a haven for him and his friend Arvid. America, where there is no upper class.

In Danjel's house, the sinners of society are gathered, among them the former whore, Ulrika. She has been humiliated all her life and despises her country for all its people who have helped her fall and just kept punishing her. Danjel is the only one who has taken care of her and her daughter. He has also given her salvation.

Starvation proves itself inevitable that winter as Kristina gives birth to another baby, another mouth to feed. Karl-Oskar continues his attempts to persuade her to go, but she refuses until the loss of their oldest child Anna to starvation convinces her to give in and agree to go even if she must with a sad and solemn heart.

The family is joined by Danjel and his family, as well as Robert and Arvid and Ulrika and her daughter Elin. They are starting a journey to a country far away and they all share the hope that the new land will provide them with better lives. Kristina realises that she will probably never see her home again. It is a dangerous journey and the boat they plan to take in Karlshamn is smaller then they had imagined and they suffer from sea- sickness and other diseases. Kristina does not like the idea of being forced to stay on the same ship as the former whore, Ulrika, but Karl- Oskar tries to calm her down. She has no choice but to accept.

Kristina is pregnant and the sea-trip makes her sick. She gets scurvy and hovers near death for a while. Karl-Oskar watches over her all the time and begins to regret having forced her to come with him to the new continent, but Kristina pulls through and they arrive in New York where everything is scary and new.

But their journey is not yet over. They must travel hundreds of miles over the continent to reach their goal, Taylors Falls in Minnesota. Karl- Oskar has heard that the soil there is good. They arrive in Taylors Falls on a rainy day, and no one seems to understand the english that Robert speaks. Everyone ignores them except for one person, Reverend Jackson. He takes care of the cold and wet immigrants.

Robert and Arvid are set on going to California to dig for gold. They want to leave as soon as the winter is over and the spring has come again. Karl-Oskar tries to stop them but cannot; they have already made up their minds.

Finally, Kristina, Karl-Oskar, and the children arrive at Lake Ki-Chi-Saga, where they plan to build their house. Karl-Oskar builds them a shanty that serves as their home over the winter until he can start the real house. Kristina gives birth to a child with Ulrika as midwife, and, while holding the baby in her arms, realizes that she is now far from home, with no hope of ever returning. The story of Sweden is the story she will carry in her memory till she dies.