This French Western is set in 1863, two years after the American Civil War broke out. A French couple with their three daughters decides to escape from Missouri to New York and from there back to Paris. On their journey over hazardous mountain passes and across snow-filled landscapes they are guided by Victor Ludd, an ex-mercenary with a scarred cheek. Ludd is being chased by the mysterious Betty, his ex-lover, clad in black. Rebellious daughter Esther develops feelings for the tormented Victor ("I'm not a fit man to marry").
L'état sauvage is a beautifully shot Western with atmospheric music and mesmerising slow-motion sequences. David Perrault's second feature is about choosing your own course and primarily, according to Perrault, about "a group of women gradually breaking the chains that bind them to men".