Based on a true story from 16th century France, Martin Guerre (Depardieu) who, after a pre-arranged marriage, abandons his family to fight in the war. Then, following an 8-year absence, suddenly returns to his native village. Martin's personality however, has mysteriously changed; where once he neglected and abused his wife, Bertrande, he now acts lovingly and gently toward her. This startling transformation leads some of Martin's relatives to suspect the man of being an impostor. Bertrand insists otherwise, despite mounting evidence against her "husband". Soon the villagers have dragged Martin and Bertrande to court in order to uncover the truth.