Miriam promises her lovers the gift of eternal life, but John, her companion for centuries, suddenly discovers that he is getting old minute by minute, so he looks for Dr. Sarah Roberts, a researcher on the mechanisms of aging, and asks her for help.
Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria clashes with his father, Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria, over implementing progressive policies for their country. Rudolf soon feels he is a man born at the wrong time in a country that doesn't realize the need for social reform. The Prince of Wales, later to become Britain's King Edward VII, provides comic relief. Rudolf finds refuge from a loveless marriage with Princess Stéphanie by taking a mistress, Baroness Maria Vetsera. Their untimely demise at Mayerling, the imperial family's hunting lodge, is cloaked in mystery.