The year 1910. Leo Tolstoy died. The teacher of the literature of the Odessa Gymnasium Vasily Petrovich Bachey is hotly arguing with the sister of his late wife Tatyana Ivanovna about the attitude of the tsarist government to the great writer. He decides to read the report on Tolstoy, in which he will tell about his work, despite the warning of his sister-in-law.
The success of the report is huge. Many students come and ask him to read it. But in the office of the guardian of the educational district remain dissatisfied. The trustee suggests to Vasily Petrovich an alternative: either he will refuse his convictions in the presence of the inspector and explain the “corrupting influence of the teaching of Count Tolstoy on Russian society” or he will be dismissed. In response to the fact that Tolstoy is only a writer, not a politician, Vasily Petrovich receives a letter with notification of dismissal under the third article without explaining the reasons. Now the family of Bacheys awaits ruin, poverty and complete ruin.
The initiative is taken by Tatyana Ivanovna. She offers to give cheap delicious meals and free two rooms to take them. But this idea does not bring luck.
Suddenly, the son of Vasily Petrovich, a 13-year-old schoolgirl, Peter meets his old friend Gavrik. Gavrik lives in the family of the elder brother of Terenty and tries to earn his living by all means. Gavrik wants to graduate from the gymnasium externally and offers Petya to be
Sailing on a steamer, travelers come to Turkey and Greece, admire the views of ancient cities and fire-breathing volcanoes, enjoy oriental cuisine and experience all the delights of sea voyage, including pitching.
In Naples, the Bachey family leaves the ship and settles in the hotel. While his father is resting, Petya and Pavlik decide to send a letter to Gavrik and a postcard to their aunt. Getting lost, the boys get on strike trams. There they meet Maxim Gorky. His son helps the boys to send correspondence and shows how to return to the hotel.
From Naples, travelers travel by train to Rome. On the platform Petya meets his eyes with a girl of about thirteen, near whom a lady dressed in a mourning dress. Now all thoughts of Petit are occupied by a beautiful stranger.
Poputeshestovav in Italy and Switzerland, the Bachey family returns to Odessa. At the border, they witness the arrest of a train passenger who asked to tell his comrades that his name was Osipov.
Gavrik’s brother Terenty warmly thanks Petya for the delivery of the letter and information about Osipov who was arrested.
The school of Feig arrives son of the millionaire Clinton Blizhensky. He was expelled from many educational institutions with a “wolf ticket” and now again the young man decided to try his hand. Knowing the strictness and adherence of Basil Petrovich, Feig asks him to condescension to a rich student. While hesitating, Vassily Petrovich nevertheless puts a unit on the entrance examination. In the evening, Blizhensky arrives. He agrees with the assessment that his son received. But nevertheless, Blizhensky offers a large bribe to correct the assessment. For refusal Vasily Petrovich receives a letter from Feig about the dismissal. For Bachey’s family hard days come again. Tatyana Ivanovna offers to rent a hamlet near Odessa and sell the harvest. Seeing the prospect of not depend on anyone, Vasily Petrovich agrees. Having sold some things,
In the spring the Bachey family moves to the farm, only Petya remains in the city to finish the school year. He settles in the house of his brother Gavrik Terenty. Petya does not give rest to the stranger, whom he met in Italy. Suffering from love, he decides to pay attention to the daughter of Terence Motu, who has long been in love with him. Inviting Motya for a walk, he pours out her soul and asks for advice on what to do. With difficulty holding back tears, Motya offers to write a favorite letter and wishes happiness.
Lena’s execution provokes a strike in Odessa and lives with Terenty, who is one of the activists of the revolutionary committee, Petya is in the midst of revolutionary events that are taking place in the city.
After passing the exams, Petya comes to the farm and gets involved in the work. To raise money for the next installment, the Bacheys decide to rent a small outbuilding. Gavrik leads the residents of Pavlovsky – the widow and daughter Marina, who turns out to be Petina’s lover. Tenants lead a solitary way of life, and now Petya suffers from the fact that he does not see Marina. He writes her a letter, in which he appoints a date. During the walk, Petya admits to Marina as she saw her at the station in Italy, fell in love with her at first sight. The frightened girl denies that she once was abroad and runs away. No letters Petya can not pull it out for another date. Gavrik, who came to the next lesson, explains to Petya that the Pavlovskys are hiding from the police and Gavrik placed them in the Bachey family, considering Petya their man. Gavrik often happens with Pavlovsky with instructions from the committee.
In the meantime, the cherry is sailing and it is necessary to realize the harvest, especially since the time for payment is suitable. The family Chernoivanenko and friends from the revolutionary committee come to help. Also help Pavlovsky. During the harvest, Petya meets Marina. The girl confesses to him in love. Deciding to punish her, Petya tells Marina that he has a long-standing affair with Motey. They walked along the steppe, collected snowdrops and even kissed. Petya’s romantic fantasy is interrupted by Motya, who heard everything, being nearby and remaining unnoticed by them. Now Petya and the girls can only have friendly relations. He gives himself the word of not falling in love with anyone else.
With the help of Terenty, the harvest was sold successfully. Terenty asks Vasily Petrovich as a token of gratitude to lecture in the revolutionary committee, and the committee will gather in the estate on the pretext of work. During the meetings Gavrik, Petya, Motya and Marina guard the estate. Seeing Marina take Gavrik by the arm, Petya is jealous.
One day a man appears on the farm, who is interested in the harvest. Petya finds out in him a detective, whom he faced as a child. Now Terenty strengthens the guard.
The detective does not appear by accident: a representative of the Central Committee comes to Odessa secretly from abroad with directives from Lenin. They are an old acquaintance of Petit and Gavrik, a sailor from the “Battleship Potemkin” Rodion Zhukov. Zhukov is brought to the farm.
During the meeting, the police appear and the warned Pavlovsky and Zhukov are hiding. Seeing that people are working in the garden, as well as listening to the teacher’s lectures, the police are being removed.
The fugitives return to the farm. Sitting next to Marina, Petya hardly holds back, not to admit to her in love.