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In 1837, in the countryside of British-controlled Lower Canada, English soldiers search for Charles Douglas, the fugitive leader of the Voyageurs, a ragtag band of revolutionaries. With the help of his cohorts, Charles outsmarts the soldiers, then he and his grown son Mark go to the city of Quebec to see the secret head of the rebellion, La Fleur. Unknown to Mark, La Fleur is actually Stephanie Durossac, Charles' former lover and the estranged wife of Colonel Jean Durossac, a rabid, vengeful opponent of the rebellion. Mark is also unaware that Stephanie is his mother, and when Charles informs Father Antoine, a sympathetic Quebec priest, that he is taking Mark to see La Fleur, Father Antoine expresses concern for the young man. Stephanie, meanwhile, confers with Jean-Paul Racelle, an assemblyman, about a pro-revolutionary speech he is to deliver to his fellow politicians. The fanatical Racelle exhorts the assembly to reject British rule and announces that Charles is dead. Later, Stephanie is stunned by the appearance of her son, who was taken away from her at birth, while Mark is startled to learn that La Fleur is a beautiful woman. Stephanie, who became a revolutionary to spite her cruel husband, admits that she instructed Racelle to start the rumor about Charles' death, hoping that the news would inspire an uprising. At Stephanie's urging, Charles, Mark and their men ambush a squad of English soldiers who are transporting some captured rebels along the Rock River, and after a fierce fight, free their cohorts. Mark, who is posing as a coachman, then reports to Stephanie, and after she hears him describe the viciousness of the battle, she arranges for him to move in with her, but conceals her maternal concern. Mark adapts quickly to city life, and an attraction between him and Stephanie's grown ward Madelon, whose father was killed fighting the British, soon develops. Although Charles knows that the Voyageurs are too undisciplined and ill-equipped to defeat the English, he and the other revolutionaries, including a court-martialed British officer and Racelle, plot their next attack. As part of the plan, two hundred Voyageurs are smuggled into tunnels beneath The Citadel, a Quebec fortress controlled by the British, while other rebels prepare to confront troops along the river. Mark, meanwhile, evokes the jealous ire of Madelon when he admits that he is strangely attracted to Stephanie. Despite his confusion, Mark, who is also loved by a peasant girl named Jeannine, reassures Madelon with a kiss. Eventually the riverside battle takes place, and although Racelle is killed and the rebels are driven back into the woods, the British are shaken. Charles then sneaks into Father Antoine's church, where Stephanie assures him that she married the colonel only because he had told her that Charles was dead and she was unaware that she was pregnant with Mark. Before sending Mark back to the countryside, Charles and the priest tell him about how his mother used to compare Canada to an iron rose, whose petals could not be torn off. To Charles' surprise, Colonel Durossac then summons him and offers the Voyageurs amnesty in exchange for his surrender. Charles agrees and the colonel informs him that he is free to go. Later, however, Stephanie receives Charles' dead body rolled up in a rug and, crying, tells Mark the sad news. Enraged, Mark decides to lead the attack against the Citadel and sneaks into the tunnels to organize the men there. In the countryside, Jeannine, meanwhile, helps to gather the surviving Voyageurs, who head toward Quebec in canoes. When the British begin firing cannons at the canoes, Mark instructs the men in the tunnels to charge, and another bloody battle ensues. Jeannine is captured and killed by the colonel after she refuses to identify Mark, and Mark is wounded. Humbled by the rebels' defeat, Stephanie decides to ask the colonel for amnesty for Mark. She then tells her son not to give up hope, as Canada is like an iron rose, and with those words, Mark finally realizes that Stephanie is his mother. The colonel agrees to grant Mark amnesty and instructs Stephanie to have her son walk out of the Citadel gates and not stop when the guards call out to him. That night, when a manly figure walks past them without stopping, the Citadel guards open fire, then discover that they have a killed a disguised Stephanie. Later, in the church, Mark lights two candles for his parents and heads off with the devoted Madelon by his side.