The analysis of confessional conflict in early modern Austria has often focused on nobles and townspeople. To get the full picture, however, it is essential to integrate the rural core into the analysis. In the Habsburg domains, the dynasty’s resolve to uphold or subsequently re-establish the old faith antagonized large sectors of the populace. This occurred in the early phase of the Reformation, when a broad diversity of reformist thought influenced peasant activism. Yet it also returned at a later stage of Austrian confessionalization, when a reinvigorated church and dynasty had begun to roll back the advances of the new creed. During its final period in the midst of the Thirty Years’ War, Austrian peasants even sympathized with the Habsburgs’ international adversaries, personified above all by Sweden’s King Gustavus II Adolphus. These confrontations between monarchy and commoners form the centrepiece of this essay. By demonstrating both the potential and the limits of peasant agency, the article throws new light on the nature of Austrian society during the confessional era.