Director Vladimir Eysner takes us to an unnamed Russian village in the region of Irkutsk, home to nearly 200 residents. The vast majority are jobless and both men and women drink from morning to night. They don't look after their children, at most beating them drunkenly; instead of sending them off to school they send them to steal hemp from neighbours. The decrepit wooden cottages, mud tracks on which drunkards slip about, overgrown fields and rusty combines contrast sharply with the beauty of the local landscape. Traditional folk groups singing of the beauties of the Russian countryside similarly contrast with the present–day reality. The film's guide is local policeman V. G. Satunov, who must every day deal with numerous conflicts and problems, almost all of them sparked by alcohol. This starkly candid picture is humorously intercut with black and white TV footage of various aspects of life in the metropolis of Moscow.