In 1004 A.D., four years after Leif Erikson has reached modern-day Newfoundland, a group of merchants and vikings make the same trip. Their purpose is two-fold: bring back supplies to aid famine-stricken Greenland, and find the people responsible for the death of Vald, Leif's older brother, who did not return from the last voyage out west. Our story centers around Gudrid, wife of famed-merchant and expedition leader Thorfinn Karlsefni, and Freydis, Leif's half-sister.
In Vinland, the Norse are visited by a first-nations tribe and expedition leader Karlsefni decides that peace is possible, infuriating Freydis and her husband, Thorvard, who want revenge. Meawhile, Gudrid gives birth to a son, Snorri, and Karlsefni even considers settling in Vinland permanently. But Freydis and Thorvard have plans of their own: finding Haki, a Scottish freed slave who joined their crew, exchanging weapons with the tribe, Thorvard murders Haki and pins his death on the tribe to incite war. Karlsefni, believing their story, reluctantly agrees to attack them, resulting in casualties on both sides. Soon thereafter, Haki's body is discovered and Karlsefni realizes the truth, but by now it is too dangerous to stay, so they all depart for Greenland.
In Greenland, Freydis, suspecting Karlsefni knows the truth about Haki, complicates matters by revealing to Gudrid her secret past relationship Gudrid's husband Karlsefni, which causes Gudrid to question everything she knows about him. Eventually, Leif gets involved, resulting in a clash with Karlsefni over Gudrid, who he has always secretly loved. When Leif and Karlsefni fight, Leif gets the upper hand, but Gudrid steps in to stop him. Then Freydis arrives, pinning the blame for Haki's death solely on her husband. Leif is infuriated with her for keeping this a secret, but Karlsefni convinces him not to punish her, but instead outlaw Thorvard. Leif agrees.
After Thorvard is banished from Greenland, Gudrid convinces Karlsefni that they should return to their native Iceland. Back home, they begin again, but soon Karlsefni takes ill and dies, leaving Gudrid to raise their son Snorri alone. After some years, Thorvard reappears, seeking retribution for his outlawry and separation from Freydis, which he suspects is Karlsefni's fault. Finding that Karlsefni has died, he takes hold of Snorri as payment, but Gudrid, in her bravest moment, defends Snorri by swinging her axe into Thorvard's back, killing him. Soon thereafter, Freydis reappears, leaving Gudrid to fearfully explain what has happened. But to Gudrid's surprise, Freydis offers forgiveness. When Gudrid decides to atone for her act by making a pilgrimage to Rome, she entrusts Snorri into Freydis' care. And here, the saga ends.