The director and co-writer Lupu Pick plays musician Erik Paulsson, who loses his beloved son after a peaceful yet critical poetry reading is raided by the tsarist forces. Paulsson, beside himself with grief, kills the officer responsible and is sentenced to life, which will mean 18 years in prison before he is free again. While he is inside, by a strange quirk of fate, his daughter Karin falls in love with writer Sebald Brückner, the son of the state prosecutor, who indicted Paulsson and is a staunch advocate of the death penalty. The conflict between the fathers does not impair the relationship of the young couple. However, when Sebald’s long-desired success on the stage is threatened by a vengeful theatre director who had sexually harassed Karin, he is enraged and kills the other man in a fight. The prosecutor now must face the blow of losing his own son to the death penalty.