The Roman legions marched to fight distant wars. People, abandoned by the military, tried to live as before but their enemies saw weakness and invaded, attacked towns and cities, stole cattle, set fire to crops, slaughtered young and old alike and took the rest as slaves. Small groups survived, but with dwindling food supplies they faced death from starvation in the coming winter. Retired soldiers and their families find safety in an old cavalry fort. Refugees join them, including a village headman and a brewer and his daughter. The soldiers want to maintain the Empire's rules until the legions return; the village chief has lost all confidence in the protection of Rome and seeks safety in a new settlement in the hills. The brewer's daughter cannot consider a future while her boyfriend remains a slave in a remote land. They know the raiders will return. To survive, they must resolve their differences, work together and fight back against their enemies.