The film is based on the eponymous book, written by two former street gangsters - Grigori Belykh and Leonid Panteleyev. Film is set in the 1920s St. Petersburg, Russia. Streets of the city are full of the homeless boys. They are caught to be raised and educated at the correction school named after Dostoevsky. The boys are street smart and difficult. But the faculty stands up to the challenge. The teaches are being devoted and caring, and gradually win the respect of the most difficult kids. The school director Vicknixor is a refined intellectual, who becomes a role model for the boys.