Zuleikha, the 'pitiful hen', is living in the home of her brutal husband and despotic mother-in-law in a small Tatar village. When her husband is executed by communist soldiers for hiding grain, she is arrested and sent into exile in Siberia. In the first gruelling winter, hundreds die of hunger, cold and exhaustion. Yet forced to survive in that harsh, desolate wilderness, she begins to build a new life for herself and discovers an inner strength she never knew she had. Exile is the making of Zuleikha.