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During the Nazi occupation of France, a group of French Resistance leaders is desperate to smuggle professor John Bergson (James Mason) and his family safely out of the country. As their options dwindle, they decide to hire a crusty Basque shepherd (Anthony Quinn) to guide the Bergsons across the treacherous, snowcapped Pyrenees. No sooner do they get started, however, than the Nazis catch wind of their plan and send the sadistic Capt. Von Berkow (Malcolm McDowell) to bring them back.