Director: Volker Schlöndorff
Within the framework of a social parable, the film attempts to show how easily the structure of a society works to prevent the under-privileged from recognising their true position. Dealing with the oppression of German peasantry in the 1820's, it demonstrates by implication how superstition and religion, pompous educational concepts and a paternalistic interpretation of the law, can turn poor people into clumsy fools who are taught to laugh at their own miserable fate—and to accept it as God-given.
Based on a true incident, the film tell of a group of impoverished peasants, suffering under the burdens of crippling taxation and official repression, who attempt, in desperation, to ambush and rob the coach which carries the fortnightly tax money.
After five unsuccessful attempts, they finally succeed. Due to their low status, they immediately fall under suspicion, because "money in poor families is always suspect".