In the first years of the 17th century, Eastern Norway was ravaged by plague and famine. The use of tax returns has made it possible to quantify the severity of the demographic crisis, showing how it spread quite unevenly, its local impact ranging from catastrophic to negligible. In spite of the epidemic’s catastrophic potential, the epidemic and famine together, on a regional level, only resulted in the desertion of 2,5 % of the holdings. The demographic impact was possibly of the same order. Actions to prevent the spread of the famine seem to have worked against measures on a governmental and social level to prevent the spread of epidemic disease. Nevertheless, the success many places achieved in containing the epidemic disease seems to demonstrate a social discipline more efficient than the one demonstrated in the better documented last plague epidemic to reach Scandinavia in 1710-11, when people felt themselves more removed from the shadow of the plague.