Three friends – Alexey Maksimov, Vladislav Karpov and Alexander Zelenin – graduated from the Leningrad Medical Institute. The guys are friends from the first year, despite the difference in character and temperament: Maximov – sharp, ironic, internally vulnerable and therefore “closed”, Karpov – cheerful, favorite girls, Zelenin – a little funny, impetuous, honest and polite. In anticipation of distribution and the inevitable departure from Leningrad, they argue about the future, about the doctor’s purpose. Sasha Zelenin believes that each of them should continue the work of ancestors in the name of descendants. He himself asks for an assignment to the village of Krugogorie, which is two days’ drive from Leningrad. Alexei and Vladik accept the unexpected offer of the head of the medical department of the Baltic Shipping Company, which is gaining ship’s doctors.
Vladik Karpov has long been in love with a classmate Faith. But Vera recently married assistant professor Veselin, and Vladik tries to forget her. On the last day before his departure to the Round Table, Sasha Zelenin gets acquainted with the Moscow student Inna and falls in love with her.
Contrary to their expectations, Maximov and Karpov do not go on long voyages. They are placed at the disposal of the sanitary-quarantine department of the seaport. They are to carry out quarantine measures on arriving ships.
Maximov wants to live interesting, to squeeze everything out of his youth. He is decent, ready for decisive actions, but he wants to answer for them only before his conscience, and not before fetishes.
Having barely arrived in the Circular, Sasha Zelenin operates a wounded worker from a timber mill. He is helped by a young nurse Dasha Gurianova. Dasha likes the young doctor, and Sasha treats her with indifference, although his heart belongs to the almost unknown Inna. In love with Dasha, the former criminal Fedor Bugrov conceals anger at the new doctor, who also exposed him as a simulator, shirking his work.
Sasha is working with enthusiasm and soon wins a common respect. He operates a lot, travels to the surrounding villages, organizes a laboratory and a roentgenogram in the hospital, even heals the hospital coachman from alcoholism. He participates in the social life of the village, lectures at the club. Once he has to fly by helicopter to the forest zaimku, where the bear picked up the forester. Inna often calls Sasha from Moscow. Soon she comes to Kruglogorye, and they celebrate the wedding.
Sasha is friends with the chairman of the local council, the war veteran Yegorov. They argue about the vital values of different generations. About his peers and friends Sasha says: “And we, the city guys, who are slightly ironic about everything in the world, lovers of jazz, sport, fashion rags, we, who at times out of themselves know what, but not adroit, do not get into the confidence, we do not praise, do not parasitize, and, frightened of lofty words, try to keep our souls clean… “
Maximov and Karpov have a lot of work in the port. Maximov manages to expose the machinations of warehouse workers. But both friends are dreaming of finally getting appointments to the ships. In their free time they go to theaters, to exhibitions and willingly drink in friendly companies. Maksimov often happens in the public library. Here he once meets Vera Veselin and finally admits that he always loved her. Vera responds to him in kind, but can not leave her husband and work at the department of the medical institute. Maksimov hides his feelings from Vladik Karpov, until he confesses that his love for Vera passed. Ambiguous uncertainty is resolved when Maximov finally receives an assignment to the ship. Before going to sea, friends decide to visit Sasha Zelenin. Sasha is pleased with the arrival of friends. The children not only have a rest in Kruglogorye, but also consult patients. The joy of a friendly meeting ends tragically: criminal Fyodor Bugrov of revenge seriously injures Sasha with a knife. A friend’s life hangs in the balance, but Maximov and Karpov manage to conduct a successful operation. At the bed of the rescued friend they realize their life purpose. They are doctors, they have to beat off people from death attacks. Finally, Maximov understands Sasha’s right: in order not to fear death, one must feel his connection with the past and the future.