Jude Law and Nicole Kidman play two people living in Cold Mountain who fall in love. Just as they declare their love, the Civil War breaks out and Inman has to go and fight. Eventually he deserts and returns to Ada, a long journey on which he meets a whole variety of people, and gets almost killed numerous times. Meanwhile, Ada has nearly starved to death, but is saved when Ruby (Renee Zellweger) turns up to help her run the farm. Ada and Ruby also have to fight against the Home Guard, bullies who stayed behind from the war that hunt deserters like Inman.