Captain Alexander (Sasha) Vasilievich's regiment falls when the Russian Army on the western front collapses. He returns home to visit his family and fiancee Irina Mikhailovna in eastern Siberia. Russia is on the verge of financial collapse. Out of the political unrest and power vacuum rise many factions. While visiting his family, the Bolshevik Revolution breaks out in St. Petersburg. The Bolshevik Revolution and lawlessness catapult the young lovers into the stormy waves of the bloodiest revolution in Russian history. In the most turbulent times, Irina Mikhailovna becomes another rape victim of Grigori Semenov, the Cossack general, the protégé of the allied forces in the Far East and the most fear man in east Siberia. Sasha and local partisans pursue the Cossacks to revenge. After killing handful of Grigori’s bandits, Sasha goes back to Petrograd to join the revolution. Sometime later, Grigori Semenov, the archenemy of Sasha, sends his bandits to destroy Vasilli (Sasha's father) and Irina’s family. They murder Mikhail, Irina’s father, and set the house on fire while Irina is in bed, and she sustains severe burns to her beautiful face and parts of her body. She decides to vanish from the evil world and Sasha for she is no longer a beautiful woman. Sasha looks for Irina for two years from the Far East to St. Petersburg. He finds her on Olkhon Island. As they try to rebuild their lives. their motherland betrays them and their hopes and dreams are cut short by Joseph Stalin's bloody persecution of Soviet minorities. In the winter of 1937, cattle trains haul the first shipment of human cargo containing 180.000 Soviet-Koreans to the lands of exile. Among them are Sasha and Irina. They try to survie in the freezing cattle trains that have no bathrooms or stoves. Thousands of deportees die of diseases and hunger and dead bodies are often thrown off the moving trains. They call them "Ghost Trains." After a month-long ride, the cattle trains dump them in the middle of nowhere in Kazahstan. The deportees sleep in dirt dugouts in the snow-covered steppe. Resolved to survive from the man-made adversity and human cruelty, Irina walks out into the snow to look for something to fill their empty stomachs. Roots, desert animals and weeds.