jvind, a smallholder's boy, is a close friend with Marit, a farmer's girl, throughout their entire childhood. As an adolescent he one day recognizes that she has become a maiden, and that he has fallen in love with her. When he sees Marit dancing with Jon Halten, a farmer's son, he gets sad, and notices that when you start loving someone, you are not cheerful any more. He senses the social distance between himself and Marit, and tries to compensate this by becoming the best pupil in the village. Øjvind wants to study at an agricultural college, and the old schoolmaster helps him to arrange this. When he some years later returns to the village as an agronomist, he and Marit resume their romance. Because of their different social status Marit's grandfather, Ola Nordistua, tries to stop the liaison. With new agricultural methods Øjvind helps his father to get better harvests. At the same time the old Ola Nordistua sees his farm going downhill as no one really cares for it.

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