Shortly after Joseph Stalin’s death in 1953, Lavrenty Beria, the omnipotent NKVD Minister, granted a broad amnesty. Due to it, going at large were hardened criminals that had been convicted for grave offenсes. Wreaking havoc in the taiga in search of food and transportation, the bandits come across a small village where two amnestied political prisoners are waiting for the arrival of a boat. It fell to those two – the middle-aged Kopalych and the young Luzga – to defend the helpless villagers from the convicts. The great Russian actor Anatoly Papanov played his last role (Kopalych) in this film.