A snowy village in Russia during World War II. 16-year-old Semyon is once again playing in the forest in abandoned shooting ranges. His mother is looking for him and shots are fired. Frozen with horror, the desperate woman fears the worst.
She has already lost her first son, only Semyon remains. When he finally reappears unharmed at the edge of the forest they both go home. In front of the house they meet their nephew Petrovich who, as an auxiliary policeman for the German occupiers, is able to provide his aunt with bread. Semyon, on the other hand, wants to join the partisans in the forest and fight. His mother tries to stop him by all means. No longer knowing what to do, she runs to her nephew's house to have him read the riot act to her son. In an unadorned black and white style Dmitry Kargapolov persuasively stages a family's war-time sufferings as a humanistic drama. MM