The social ferment in late 19th century Russia which led to the 1917 Russian Revolution is movingly portrayed in this lengthy historical drama, which is very faithful to the 1907 novel The Mother by the celebrated Marxist writer Maxim Gorky (1868-1936). In the story, "the mother" (Inna Tchourikova) has no other recourse than to watch her decent, kindly husband turn into an animalistic, drunken brute as a result of working in the inhuman conditions of a steel mill in the town of Sormovo. When he begins to express his suppressed rage by beating her, she is defended by her teenaged son Pavel (depicted Viktor Rakov as an adult, Sacha Chichonok as a boy). After his father's death, Pavel is forced to go to work in the same factory. However, Pavel and his friends begin investigating Marxism and socialist thought, and work to organize their fellow workers.
A lifetime of taking shots has ended Rocky's career, and a crooked accountant has left him broke. Inspired by the memory of his trainer, however, Rocky finds glory in training and takes on an up-and-coming boxer.
Lyon Gaultier is a deserter in the Foreign Legion arriving in the USA entirely hard up. He finds his brother between life and death and his sister-in-law without the money needed to heal her husband and to maintain her child.
Offbeat fashion student Betsy Hopper and her straight-laced investment-banker fiancé, Dylan Walsh, just want an intimate little wedding reception, but Betsy's father, Eddie, a Long Island construction contractor, feels so threatened by Jake's rich WASP parents that he blows the ceremony up into a bank-breaking showpiece, sending his wife, Lola, into a financial panic.