This gritty, complex period piece unfurls circa 1914, against the explosive backdrop of the early-World War I Balkans. In a Serbian village on the banks of the Sava River (which constitutes the border of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), the local population falls into two factions with radically different ideologies: the veterans from prior Balkan conflicts, many of whom are invalids given their war casualties, and the new military recruits - young, strapping and full of vigor. When the Great War formally erupts following the Archduke's assassination, the new recruits of the village march off to the front lines, leaving the invalids behind; many of those who remain willfully and irresponsibly take sexual advantage of the soldiers' wives and sisters. News of this reaches the Serbian High Command shortly before the battles commence; in response, he summons the invalids and places them at the front lines, in an attempt to effectively deal with the guilty parties. Meanwhile, an unexpected romance blossoms between an area policeman, his wife, and a Balkan war invalid.