A young army deserter who thinks he has killed his sergeant in an argument. He flees from his army encampment to Zurich where he arrives in a rainy night and rents a furnished room in the old town (a poor area of rathe...展开r bad repute before gentrification started). He does not find rest there, his main concern being stealing civilian clothes so that he can escape to unoccupied France (the movie was made during World War Two). The soldier is confronted with different people who struggle with problems of their own and let him reconsider his actions. In the course of events he gets an opportunity to somehow relieve his conscience by telling the reason for the argument that led to his slaying the sergeant. In flashbacks the viewers are told the life story of the soldier and his acquaintance with the sergeant that started long before army service. This turns the movie into a short, sober and unbiased excursion into the Swiss social order of that time with a remarkable lack of preachyness. The soldier's bad conscience also leads to a short well directed dream sequence that seems to turn him temporarily insane. In the end he returns to his unit to face the consequences of his act.