Following the death of her Russian soldier husband in World War Two, Katya (Ekaterina Rednikova) gives birth to a son, Sania. When Sania is six, Katya falls in with handsome officer Tolian (Vladimir Mashkov), and the three become a 'family'. It soon transpires that Tolian is in fact a conman, operating by winning the confidence of their neighbours and then stealing from them. The trio move from town to town, and while Katya disapproves of Tolian's behaviour she finds that she cannot leave him. Sania, meanwhile, sees Tolian as a hero, and attempts to emulate him.