The commander of the partisan detachment, Levinson, orders the orderly Morozka to take the package to another detachment. Frost does not want to go, he suggests sending someone else; Levinson quietly orders the orderly to surrender their weapons and go to all four sides. Morozka, having returned to her senses, takes the letter and goes on the road, noticing that it is impossible for him to “leave the detachment”.
Then comes the prehistory of Morozka, who was a miner in the second generation, did everything in his life thoughtlessly – he thoughtlessly married the stroller Ware, who was strolling, thoughtlessly left in the eighteenth year to protect the Soviets. On the way to Shaldyba’s detachment, where the orderly was carrying a package, he sees a partisan battle with the Japanese; the partisans flee, leaving the wounded boy in the city jacket. Morozka picks up the wounded man and returns to Levinson’s detachment.
The wounded man was called Pavel Metchik. He woke up already in the forest hospital, saw Dr. Stashinsky and nurse Varya (wife Morozka). A sword is made for the sword. In the pre-history Metchik reported that he, living in the city, wanted heroic deeds and therefore went to the partisans, but when he got to them, he was disappointed. In the infirmary, he tries to talk with Stashinsky, but he, having learned that Metchik was close to the mains with the maximalists, is not allowed to talk to the wounded. Metchik did not like Morozka at once, and did not like it later, when Morozka visited his wife in the infirmary. On the way to the detachment, Morozka tries to steal melons from the village chairman Ryabts, but, caught by the master, is forced to retire. Ryabets complains to Levinson, and he orders to take away weapons from Morozok.
For the evening, a village gathering is scheduled to discuss the behavior of the orderly. Levinson, after striving between the peasants, understands finally that the Japanese are approaching and he and the detachment must retreat. Partisans gather at the appointed hour, and Levinson expounds the essence of the matter, offering everyone to decide how to deal with Frost. Partizan Dubov, a former miner, proposes to expel Morozka from the detachment; this has affected Morozka so much that he gives his word that he will no longer disgrace the title of partisan and former miner. In one of the trips to the infirmary, Morozka realizes that his wife and Metzik have had some special relationships, and, never being jealous of Varya to anyone, this time feels anger towards both his wife and “mama’s son”, as he he calls Mechik.
In the detachment everyone regards Levinson as a man of “special, regular breed.” Everyone seems to think that... the commander knows everything and understands everything, although Levinson was in doubt and hesitation. Collecting information from all sides, the commander orders the detachment to retreat. Recovered Mechik comes to the detachment. Levinson ordered to give him a horse – he gets the “tearful, sorrowful mare” Zyuchikha; the offended Metchik does not know how to deal with Zyuchikha; not knowing how to get along with the partisans, he does not see “the main springs of the detachment mechanism.” Together with Baklanov he was sent to reconnaissance; in the village they stumbled upon a Japanese patrol and in the shoot-out killed three. After discovering the main forces of the Japanese, the scouts return to the detachment.
The detachment must retreat, it is necessary to evacuate the hospital, but you can not take fatally wounded Frolov with you. Levinson and Stashinsky decide to give the patient a poison; Metchik accidentally hears their conversation and tries to prevent Stashinsky – he shouts at him, Frolov understands that they offer him a drink, and agrees.
The detachment retreats, Levinson goes to check the guards during the night and talks with Metchik – one of the sentries. Metchik tries to explain to Levinson how he (Mechik) is bad in the detachment, but the commander remains impressed by the conversation that Metchik is an “impassable messenger”. Levinson sends Metelitsa to the reconnaissance, who makes his way to the village where the Cossacks are standing, gets into the courtyard of the house where the squadron chief lives. He was discovered by Cossacks, put him in a barn, next morning he was interrogated and led to the square. There, a man in a waistcoat comes forward, leading a frightened shepherd’s hand, to whom Metelitsa left a horse in the forest on the eve. The Cossack boss wants to “interrogate the boy in his own way,” but Metelitsa rushes at him, striving to strangle him; he shoots, and the Snowstorm dies.
Cossack squadron is sent along the road, it is discovered by partisans, they ambush and turn the Cossacks to flight. During the battle, Morozki’s horse is killed; After occupying the village, the guerrillas, on the orders of Levinson, shot a man in a waistcoat. At dawn, the enemy cavalry is sent to the village, the thinning squad of Levinson retreats into the forest, but stops, as the bog ahead. The commander orders the marsh to be dislodged. After crossing, the detachment goes to the bridge, where the Cossacks arranged an ambush. Metchik sent to the watch, but he, discovered by the Cossacks, is afraid to warn the partisans and flees. Driving after him, Morozka manages to shoot three times, as was agreed, and dies. The detachment rushes to a breakthrough, leaving nineteen people.