Film is in black and white, which does not take anything away, but rather adds to mood of the film. It`s a drama, melodrama, detective, romance, all in one. It shows how a man is transformed first by hardships and then by success and goes from a young fighter for truth and fairness to just another tyrant and bloodsucker.
//----------SPOILERS--------the plot-----------// Story is set in deep Russia, on a wild river in woods called "Ugrum-reka"-the Moody river. Son of a dishonest trader, Prohor Gromov ("grom" means "thunder", very poignant) wants to become his own man.
He takes his fathers order and goes trough the woods to deliver the furs to the byer in the nearest town. He tries to take the shorter way and get`s lost. At the highest point of this, his fathers servant, Abdulla, who is sent with him to guard him almost shoots him driven by hunger, but comes to the senses and saves his life by continuing to go on. But at the last moment they are rescued and taken in by another trader. Prohor takes a move at his daughter, more out of money interest than sympathy. He returns to his home and finds that his father has an affair with a beauty and "witch" Anfisa, who madly falls in love with Prohor. Prohor also is crazy of love and jealosy. But still, he wants to marry the rich young lady. He gives to her a gift - pearl earrings. The girls father, trader who helped him and had also done business with his father suddenly recognizes the earrings. They belonged to his mother, who was killed along with her husband and family by robbers who took all the jewelery. Turns out that Prohor`s father is a former robber. Prohor is mad at his for dashing his hopes for a rich wife. He tries to make business himself and in doing so runs into an old tungus man, who lives in forest herding his reindeers. He sais he knows where to get gold from a river, but on a condition, that Prohors stays and fathers a son to the younger daughter, who`s husband was killed by a bear. Prohor stays and has a mystical encounter with a native tungus woman, who asks him to stay, but in the morning turns out that she died long ago and is leading local hunters into deathtraps. This leaves a great imprint on Prohor, but he stays for the year and fulfills the old man`s condition. Now he has gold and he starts to do business. When he returns home he finds out that his father is openly going out with Anfisa. He is still in love with her, but she says she will marry the father if he gets divorce. Prohor is split between the love for his mother and Anfisa who is a cause of many drunken rampages from the father, bothered that his old wife is an obsticle to his marriage. Prohor tries to mediate, but passions run high and once in a feat of madness, he jumps on a horse, flies to Anfisa`s house and shoots her through the window. Investigation reveals that he is the most possible murderer, but he escapes by putting the blame on Abdulla, repaying with evil for saving his life in the forest. After that he incidentally fights with his father who get`s stroke and is put in a hospital for mentally ill. Which makes Prohor the head of the company. His mother soon dies. Prohor tries to go back to the young lady and persuade her to marry him. He throws himself before her father and is forgiven. After the wedding his wealth is increasing by the hour. In his youth he was saying that in his company the people would have decent working conditions and good pay, but now, years later his only dream is to be a master of the whole Ugrum-reka. So the company is pulling veins from the workers, Prohors wife is trying to reason with him but only gets laughed at. Now he is blackmailed by a police inspector, who was at the Anfisa`s house ans aquired a box with papers which could do damage to Prohor. He tries to by the papers but ends up paying more and more until the blackmailer asks for the large share of the company. Prohor finds a man and orders murder or the police inspector. papers are burned, danger is over, another murder on contience. His company is already close to costing a million. Each time another "pud" of gold is got out of the river the bell is rung, and it`s ringing frequently. The people, tortured by an inhumane condition try to make a rebellion, but Prohor send czars guard to brake the mutiny. Soldiers are ordered to fire at people. This is a breaking point. Prohors brutality clashes with his contience and he goes mad.He runs off to the forest and while running sees and hears the tungus woman and Anfisa calling him, while visions of his murders are rising against him from shadows. In agony he jumps off the cliff into Ugrum-reka.
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