An eminent judge is brought face to face with a youthful peccadillo when he recognises as none other than his illegitimate daughter a young woman accused of murdering her illegitimate child, fruit of a similar lapse with a young squire of the manor. The girl does not deny responsibility for the child's death (though there are extenuating circumstances), and since the judge's family motto is "The majesty of justice is the most holy thing on Earth", she is duly condemned to death. After much heart-searching however - he has just been honoured with promotion and faces ruin if he interferes - the judge helps his daughter to escape after all official appeals fail.
Three years later, after travelling abroad, he marries her off to a nice young man who loves her; attempts to expiate his sin against justice by confessing his part in the escape, but is told to keep quiet or his daugther will suffer; and chooses the only way out by retiring to the ruins of his ancestral mansion to commit suicide. (Excerpt from The Cinema of Carl Dreyer, 1971, by Tom Milne).