Story is set in deep Russia, on a wild river in woods called "Ugrum-reka" - the Moody river. Son of a dishonest trader, Prohor Gromov wants to become his own man. He takes his fathers order and goes trough the woods to deliver the furs to the byer in the nearest town. He tries to take the shorter way and get`s lost. At the highest point of this, his fathers servant, Abdulla, who is sent with him to guard him almost shoots him driven by hunger, but comes to the senses and saves his life by continuing to go on.