The action takes place in the modern author of the play of Germany. The plot unfolds for two years. Drama is preceded by the epigraph of Hippocrates, which in the Russian translation reads: “What medicines do not heal, heals iron, which does not heal iron, heals fire.”
In the ancestral castle of the barons von Moore, the father, the youngest son Franz and the count’s pupil, the bride of the eldest son, Amalia von Edelreich, live. The drawstring is the letter received by Franz from the solicitor from Leipzig, which tells the story of the dissolute life of a student at the University of Leipzig, Karl von Moore, the eldest son of the count. Saddened by the bad news, the old man von Moor allows Franz to write a letter to Karl and inform him that the earl, enraged by the behavior of his eldest son, deprives him of his inheritance and his parental blessing.
At this time, in a tavern on the border of Saxony, where students of the University of Leipzig usually gather, Karl von Moor awaits an answer to his letter to his father, in which he sincerely regrets his wicked life and promises to continue his business. Together with Carl, the time is being wasted by his friend and fellow student Spiegelberg. He argues that it is better to rob than to live in poverty. A letter comes from old Von Moore. After reading it, Karl comes to despair. Meanwhile, Spiegelberg talks about how wonderful it is to live in Bohemian forests, to take money from wealthy travelers
Now that Franz von Moir managed to drive his elder brother out of the loving heart of his father, he tries to blacken him in the eyes of his bride, Amalia. He informs her that the diamond ring she gave to Karl before separation as a pledge of loyalty, he gave the libertine when he could not pay for his love affairs. He paints in front of Amalia the portrait of a sickly beggar in rags, whose mouth is poured with “deadly faintness” – such is her beloved Charles now. But it’s not so easy to convince a loving heart. Amalia refuses to believe Franz and drives him away.
But in the head of Franz von Moore, a new plan has already matured that will finally help him realize his dream, become the owner of the legacy of the counts von Moore. To this end, he slanders the side son of one local nobleman, Herman, to change clothes and, appearing to the old man Moore, to report that he witnessed the death of Charles, who took part in the battle of Prague. The heart of a sick graph is unlikely to withstand this terrible news. For this Franz promises Herman to return to him Amalia von Edelreich, which was once him beaten by Carl von Moore.
So everything happens. Old Man Moore recalls his eldest son to Amalia. At this time is disguised as Herman. He talks about Karl, left without any means of subsistence, and therefore decided to take part in the Prussian-Austrian campaign. The war threw him into Bohemia, where he died heroically. Dying, he asked to pass his sword to his father, and a portrait of Amalia to return her along with her oath of allegiance. Count von Moor blames himself for the death of his son. Seeing the joy on Franz’s face, the old man begins to understand who is really to blame for all the troubles of Charles. He leans back on the pillows, and loses consciousness. Franz thinks that the old man is dead, and rejoices at the long-awaited death of his father.
In the meantime, Karl von Moore is being robbed in the Bohemian forests. He dared and often plays with death, as he lost interest in life. The ataman gives his share of the booty to orphans. He punishes the rich who rob ordinary people, following the principle: “My craft is retribution, revenge is my business.”
And in the family castle von Moorov is ruled by Franz. He achieved his goal, but does not feel satisfaction: Amalia still refuses to become his wife. Herman, who realized that Franz had deceived him, discovers the maid of honor’s “a terrible secret” – Karl von Moore is alive and the old man is also Moore.
Karl with his gang falls into the environment of Bohemian dragoons, but they manage to escape from it at the cost of the death of just one fighter, the Bohemian soldiers have lost about 300 people. In the detachment von Moor is asked by a Czech nobleman, who lost all his fortune, and also the beloved, who is called Amalia. The story of the young man stirred up earlier memories in Karl’s soul, and he decides to lead his gang to Franconia with the words: “I must see her!”
Under the name of Count von Brand of Mecklenburg, Karl penetrates into his ancestral castle. He meets his Amalia and is convinced that she is faithful to “the deceased Karl”. In the gallery among the portraits of his ancestors, he stops at the portrait of his father and furtively looks like a tear. Nobody will know the eldest son of the count, only the all-seeing and ever-suspecting Franz guesses the guest of his elder brother, but does not tell anyone about his conjectures. Junior Moore background forces the old butler Daniel to swear that he will kill the visiting count. By the scar on his hand, the butler recognizes in the column von Brande Charles, he can not lie to the old servant who brought him up, but now he must leave the castle forever. Before disappearing, he decides to see Amalia. She feels for the count feelings that she had previously been associated with only one person – Karl von Moore. Unrecognized,
Karl returns to his robbers, in the morning they leave these places, and while he wanders through the forest. In the darkness he stumbles upon a tower and hears someone’s voice. This Herman came in stealthily to feed the prisoner locked here. Karl tears the castles from the tower and frees the old man, who has dried up like a skeleton. The prisoner is the old man von Moor, who, unfortunately, did not die then from the news brought by Herman. When he came to himself in a coffin, Franz secretly from people imprisoned him in this tower, condemning him to cold, hunger and loneliness. Karl, after listening to the story of his father, can not stand it any longer. Despite the related ties that bind him to Franz, he orders his robbers to break into the castle, grab his brother and bring him alive.
Night. The old valet Daniel says goodbye to the castle, where he spent his whole life. Franz von Moore runs in with a robe with a candle in his hand. He can not calm down, he had a dream about the Last Judgment, in which he is sent to hell for his sins. He begs Daniel to send for the pastor. Throughout his life, Franz was an atheist, and even now he can not reconcile himself with the pastor and tries to conduct a debate on religious topics. This time, he can not easily laugh at the thesis about the immortality of the soul. Having received from the pastor the confirmation that fratricide and parricide are the most serious sins of a person, Franz is frightened and understands that his soul can not escape hell.
The robbers attacked by the castle, sent by Charles, they set fire to the castle, but they can not seize Franz. In fear, he himself is strangled with a string from his hat.
Executing members of the gang return to the forest near the castle, where they are waiting for Karl, and not recognized by his father. Amalie comes with them, who rushes to the robber Moru, embraces him and calls her fiancé. Then old Moore with horror learns in the leader of these thugs, thieves and murderers of his beloved eldest son Charles and dies. But Amalia is ready to forgive her lover and start a new life with him. But their love is hampered by the oath of loyalty given by Moore to his robbers. Realizing that happiness is impossible, Amalie only asks for one thing – death. Carl stabs her.
Robber Moore drank his cup to the end, he realized that the world can not be corrected by evil deeds, but his life is over. He decides to surrender to the hands of justice. On the way to the Moor Castle he talked with the poor man, who has a large family, now Karl goes to him, so that the one who surrenders the “famous robber” to the authorities gets a thousand louis for his head.