The film follows at length the lives of two friends – Alexei Trofimov and Ivan Varrava. In the 1920s they served together at a frontier outpost, fighting with the basmachs. It was there that the young men first heard, and remembered for the rest of their lives, their commander’s behest: “There is such a profession – defending one’s Motherland”. Then followed Spain, the Great Patriotic War, and peaceful time. The old friends reunite when they are already in the rank of generals.