In a Czech town in the seventeenth century, an elderly woman enters a church to accept communion. Her true purpose is to collect the holy host for a midwife who needs it to treat an ailing dairy cow. The woman is caugh...展开t and is forced to explain her sacrilegious actions. Religious and secular authorities agree that she is in league with witches and may even be a witch herself. This prompts an inquisition where confessions are obtained through threats and torture. A tribunal is held to provide a legal facade. Though the hunt is initially confined to the impoverished fringes of local society, the hysteria soon expands to the point that no one, not even leading citizens, is safe. The ultimate target is a clergyman, Deacon Lautner, who defies the righteous men of the tribunal.
Based on actual trial records from the 1678 to 1695 period, this well made Czech film features excellent performances and strong production values. It is somewhat extreme by 1969 standards.