A smiling woman of uncertain age tends her 300 sheep and pashmina goats in the 16,500-foot elevations of Ladakh, a district in remote northern India that is culturally closer to Tibet. Tsering is the titular shepherdess, one of the few remaining (of any gender) who stays alone with her grazing animals for months at a time in the beautiful but harsh Gya-Miru Valley. Her only companion is a transistor radio that provides information on keeping her animals healthy but is also handy for scaring away snow leopards and wolves. Still, one undeterred predator can do great damage: In tears, Tsering describes a leopard that jumped into her lambs' pen, killing 60 of them. Tsering is her animals' trusty protector as she feeds, bathes, cuddles and naps among them in moments of sheer adorableness and humor. But that gentleness belies an underlying mental toughness and self-confidence—an attitude we could all benefit from in our more comfortable lives.
In Person: Directors Maya Craig, Seth Hahn (Jack, May 12)