Vadik and Masha (Vitaliy Gusev and Kseniya Baranova) are Russian children who have been sent to Kazakhstan to get them away from the fighting in World War II. They quickly make friends with Akezhan (Nariman Bekturov), a local boy, who helps them out in innumerable ways. When Vadik learns that his mother (and Masha's) has died, he works very had to keep anyone else, even Masha, from learning about it. Although it is difficult to keep them afloat and he has to resort to stealing and begging, avoiding gangs of local toughs to do so, that is better than the grim alternative, which is to be sent to a state orphanage. Akezhan skips school from time to time to help Vadik accomplish what he needs to do to survive.
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