Screen version of the play of the same name by A. N. Ostrovsky. Russia in the middle of XIX. Elena Kruchinina, a famous big-city actress, visits a provincial town where she used to live and was abandoned by her lover with a newly born child. She suffered a severe emotional shock and after recovery learned about her baby’s death. On becoming an actress, Kruchinina became famous. In her native town she gives several performances and renders help to Grigory Neznamov, a young actor. She meets Murov, her child’s father, again and learns that her son is alive. After a chain of dramatic events it turns out that Neznamov is her son.