The year is 1532, the place Brandenburg in Germany. At a fair the Elector of Saxony meets a fortuneteller who after giving him an impressive example of her abilities writes his future on a sheet of paper, encapsulates it in an amulet and throws it into the crowd: the Elector is appalled, but is unable to recover the amulet. A horse dealer called Michael Kohlhaas finds it and is told that he should keep it closed and in his possession until a day in the future when he may be in danger: the amulet will then save his life. A few days later Kohlhaas is forced to leave his two best horses as a deposit at a toll-bar of the corrupt Junker of Tronka. Back home, he finds out that the deposit was illegal and claims his horses back, only to find that they have suffered severely in the meantime and are close to death.Kohlhaas sues the Junker, but has no chance against the powerful and influential nobleman; his claim is dismissed and his wife is fatally injured when she tries to deliver a petition to the Elector.