This film is based on the book about Vasili Ivanovich Chapaev (1887 - 1919) who was in real life the Commander of the 25th Division of the Red Army. Chapaev is an uneducated peasant and a decorated hero in the World War I and later in the Russian Civil War, that followed the Russian revolution. This man of action is fighting on the side of the poor people. His troops consist of peasants, just like him. Unable to write, he can brilliantly demonstrate various battle tactics by moving potatoes on the table. He is street smart. He never lost a battle against the experienced Generals of the Tzar's Army.