Russia, the Civil War years... A Red Army unit is conducting a reconnaissance operation in the sands of Central Asia. The group of gruffy soldiers includes one woman, Maryutka. She is one of the unit’s best sharp-shooters, with forty killed enemy soldiers to her credit. In the course of the latest operation that Maryutka participated in, White officer Govorukha was taken prisoner. He is to become the forty first killed in her list, but so far they are stranded face to face in the expanses of sand, sky, sea and complex passions...
This dramatic love story captivated the Cannes Film Festival’s jury in 1957, which gave the film a special prize.
Special Prize at the Cannes IFF, 1957