The social ferment in late 19th century Russia which led to the 1917 Russian Revolution is movingly portrayed in this lengthy historical drama, which is very faithful to the 1907 novel The Mother by the celebrated Marxist writer Maxim Gorky (1868-1936). In the story, "the mother" (Inna Tchourikova) has no other recourse than to watch her decent, kindly husband turn into an animalistic, drunken brute as a result of working in the inhuman conditions of a steel mill in the town of Sormovo. When he begins to express his suppressed rage by beating her, she is defended by her teenaged son Pavel (depicted Viktor Rakov as an adult, Sacha Chichonok as a boy). After his father's death, Pavel is forced to go to work in the same factory. However, Pavel and his friends begin investigating Marxism and socialist thought, and work to organize their fellow workers.