Peter Soffel is the stuffy warden of a remote American prison around the turn of the century. His wife, Kate, finds herself attracted to prisoner Ed Biddle. She abandons her husband and children to help Ed and his brother Jack escape and accompanies them into the wintery wasteland.
1901. Peter Soffel is the warden at Allegheny County Prison in Pittsburgh. He is rather an emotionless man, which affects his relationship with his wife of eighteen years, Kate Soffel, the two who have a cordial but somewhat emotionally distant marriage. They live with their four children on the prison property. Despite there being a chaplain on prison staff, Kate provides Christian spiritual guidance to the inmates. Following a three month serious health issue, Kate returns to her work including with two infamous new inmates, brothers Ed and Jack Biddle, who are sentenced to death for murder. Although the brothers are admitted robbers, there is some question within the public mindset if they did commit the murder in question. They have their legion of fans, primarily young women, who are attracted to their charisma and particularly Ed's good looks. Kate and Ed get into philosophical discussions of Christ and redemption, specifically in his and Jack's situation, which leads to them getting to know each other. Although initially done for different motives on both sides, Ed does convince Kate to help him and Jack escape from prison. Ultimately, the motive becomes love, the two who have fallen for each other. As such, Ed convinces Kate to run off with them, much against Jack's wants. What happens to the three is affected largely by that public mindset, some who want them caught at all cost, some who want solely to say they were involved in dealing with the famous Biddle brothers, and some who believe them innocent and want them to succeed. Of those old enough to understand what is happening, Kate's family members also have their own views of what she did and how it affects their individual relationships with her if she ever does return.
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