Austrian mountaineer, Heinrich Harrer journeys to the Himalayas without his family to head an expedition in 1939. But when World War II breaks out, the arrogant Harrer falls into Allied forces’ hands as a prisoner of war. He escapes with a fellow detainee and makes his way to Llaso, Tibet, where he meets the 14-year-old Dalai Lama, whose friendship ultimately transforms his outlook on life.
In 1969, a young Beijing student, Chen Zhen, is sent to live among the nomadic herdsmen of Inner Mongolia. Caught between the advance of civilization from the south and the nomads’ traditional enemies – the marauding wolves – to the north; humans and animals, residents and invaders alike, struggle to find their true place in the world