Tsar Nicholas I is enamoured by Natalia, the wife of Alexander Pushkin. To cover his tracks, the tsar encourages the suit of Georges d'Anthès, a French officer, with the help of Count Alexander von Benckendorff. Pushkin hears rumours of D’Anthès’s love for his wife and challenges him to a duel. The officer attempts to save his life by marrying Natalia’s sister Ekaterina. Returning from his country estate, Pushkin receives anonymous letters and insists on a duel with D’Anthès.