The action takes place in the village Fires collective farm “The power of labor.” The people gather near the house of the dying chairman. Evlampiy Nikitich Lykov was famous not only in the region, but also in the country. Everyone understands that changes are coming, and they remember those thirty years that Lykov headed the collective farm.
Matvei Studenkin, the first chairman, appears and has not left the cottage for five years. He conducted collectivization in the village, organized a commune. At first the supporters of the commune did not have much, but gathered around him was the “voiceless poor freemen”, unexpectedly supported by a young, fast-growing Ivan Slogov. The goal of Studenkin was “to beat the counter,” and not to establish a new economy. He was on the board, and the men did not want to work in the field. Fists tried to kill him, but mistakenly instead of him in the bath alive burned his wife. He forcibly drove everyone into the
collective farm. But when it came time to choose the chairman of the newly formed collective farm, they chose not his, but his assistant Pijko Lykov. Since then, he headed the collective farm, and Matvei Studenkin worked as a groom. Now, hardly anyone remembered him.
Comes to the dying man and the second person after him on the collective farm, accountant Ivan Ivanovich Slegov. Once he himself dreamed of bringing happiness to his native village. Returning home after the gymnasium, when the post-revolutionary devastation reigned in the village, he managed to get rich by making an incredible exchange of horses for a piglet for the village, and began to breed pigs. But he wanted happiness and wealth for all. That’s why he joined the collective farm. However, the peasants did not believe him. His thoroughbred cattle were killed in the collective farm, and Ivan himself did not already have the same species as before. Then he decided to take revenge – to set fire to the collective farm stables. But at the scene of the crime, the chairman found him and warmed the shafts, and then he himself was taken to the
hospital. He did not tell anyone, but took Ivan, who had his spine broken, to his accountants. So all my life I sat in the kolkhoz board.
With the wise management of Ivan and the Likki approach to people, they in the first year achieved a harvest. The kolkhoz had bread when hunger raged around. Surplus immediately went in exchange for bricks for the cowshed, the foundations of collective farm welfare were gradually laid.
Piiko was able to find the right people with the right people. But there was also his enemy – the Secretary of the District Pure. He was about to remove Lykov from his post. But here a large regional meeting of collective farmers was held, where Lykov managed to excel. Then – the congress of collective farmers-shock workers in Moscow, even on a photo with Comrade Stalin himself climbed. But it turned out that all of Lykov’s powerful friends are enemies of the people. Clean and under the wedge podbival, and he himself fell into the camp. Lykov emerged victorious, he was afraid.
Suddenly, a scandal erupts in the deathbed of the chairman. Forever silent and silent wife Lykov Olga falls on the secretary, Alka Studenkin, who was the mistress of the chairman, who has come to say good-bye, and now his “compilation”. While there is a scandal, Lykov dies. Ivan Slegov argues about a replacement with Lykov’s deputy, the son of that Pure, Valerka, once caught stealing, but forgiven and serving Lykov’s faith and truth. Slegov calls a man whose name can not be pronounced in this house, nephew of the chairman, Sergei Lykov.
This man was considered lucky. Happy childhood in a rich uncle’s collective farm. Then the war, and also lucky – for the whole war, not a single scratch. When he returned, the collective farm sent him to the Timiryazev Academy to study for an agronomist: his uncle wanted to have his candidate of sciences on the collective farm, or even a professor. But, having completed two courses, Sergey returned home, to save the neighboring village in which hunger reigned. At that time, the collective farms were just enlarging, and the neighboring Petrakovskaya entered the “Power of Labor”. Sergei asked to go there as a foreman. The brigade was transferred to self-financing – they had to pay for the help in technology and seed grain from the harvest. But Sergei managed to bring hope to the souls of women who had not seen anything in life for many years. And a miracle happened – the bread in Petrakovsky was better than in the Fires. Then Ivan Smegov noticed him, he saw himself as a young man. But Sergei was not afraid that they would not understand him, because he did not count on his own strength, he did not consider himself a hero of the people, but he believed in Petrakov’s women. “A wick without a lamp will not burn.”
But the next year, Uncle Yevlampi removed equipment from Petrakovsky during sowing. Sev was piled high. Sergei from the brigade leaders was transferred to the foreman’s helpers, and the hopes of the Petrakovites faded, and it seems, forever. Sergei flooded the mountain with vodka. At that time, his love for former assistant Ksenia Shcheglova broke out. He wanted to leave, but she could not leave her mother and asked Sergei to apologize to his uncle. There was no exit. The reason for the unexpected happy ending is Uncle’s infatuation with Ksenia. The duel of his uncle and nephew turns into a hand-to-hand Sergey with the chauffeur and lackey of the chairman Lekhoy Shablov: this is usually how the problems in the Fires were solved. The forces were unequal, and Sergei was in a ditch unconscious. I had to endure and uncle contempt: drunk in the ditch lying around. But the knot untied – Ksyusha moved to Petrakovsky.
Evlampy Lykov is dying. That same night Matvey Studenkin also dies. One remains Alka Studenkina. The sons of the chairman, drunk as usual, were beaten with axes on the same night by Lehu Shablov, the faithful scoundrel who had once planted his eldest son in the middle of the street for not reading to his father. Recommending Sergei, ends his career Sligov. The collective farm buries the chairman. But the battle is not over, the dead also have to argue. And Sergei to lead this fight.