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.”
The plot is based on a family tragedy. 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 blindness is the letter received allegedly by Franz from the “Leipzig correspondent”, which tells about the dissolute life of Karl von Moore, the eldest son of the count who is at the University of Leipzig. Grieved 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 Leipzig, in a tavern 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. There comes a letter about Bohemian forests, taking money from rich travelers and putting them into circulation. To poor students, this idea seems tempting, but they need an ataman, and although he himself hoped for this post, all unanimously choose Karl von Moor. Hoping that “blood and death” will make him forget his former life, his father, his bride, Carl swears allegiance to his robbers, and they in turn swear by him.
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. In particular, he informs her that the diamond ring she gave to Karl before separation as a pledge of loyalty, he gave the debaucher 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 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, he leans back on the pillows, and his heart seems to stop. Franz 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, plundering ordinary people, follows 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...
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 background Moore forces his old butler Daniel to swear that he will kill the visiting count. By the scar on his hand, the butler finds out in the column von Brande Charles, he can not lie to the old servant who brought him up, but now he must hurry to leave the castle forever. Before disappearing, he decides yet to see Amalia, who feels to the count of feelings, which she had previously been associated with only one person – Karl von Moore. The unrecognized guest says farewell to the maid of honor.
Carl returns to his robbers, in the morning they leave these places, and while he wanders through the forest, in the dark he hears a voice and sees the tower. 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 message brought by Herman, but when he came to himself in the coffin, his son 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 and, despite the family ties that bind him to Franz, orders his robbers to break into the castle, grab his brother and bring him here 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, with the pastor who has come, he can not reconcile himself 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, in horror, the old man Moore finds out in the leader of these bandits, thieves and murderers of his beloved eldest son Carl 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 bandits. 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 light can not be corrected by evil deeds, his life is over, he decides to surrender to the hands of justice. On the way to the Moore castle, he talked with the poor man, who has a large family, now Karl goes to him, so that he, after surrendering the “famous robber” to the authorities, receives for his head a thousand louis.