A young cadet, representative of “wonderful youth” of Peterbsurg, Olenin is sent to a Caucasian fort for military service. He is fascinated by the locals’ ereveryday life, their customs and traditions and strong character. He fals in love with a Cossack woman, Marina, and is ready to be enlisted in local military unit. However, Marina loves another man, a Cossack Lukashka and is very devoted to him. Lukashka is fatally wounded in a clash with the highlanders but Marina refuses Olenin once more. Olenin leaves the fort.