A group of escaped criminals hides out in the remote wooded area of Siberia in this grim drama set in the summer of 1953. Although Josef Stalin was already dead, the shadow of his oppressive rule still hangs over the country.
The gang makes their way to a small village where political prisoners Luzga (Valeri Priyemykhov) and Kopalich (Anatoli Papanov) wait to escape by boat. Luzga is a former Army scout who can barely hide his contempt of Josef Stalin, while Kopalich is a noted archaeologist.
When the village is attacked by the marauding gang, the two political prisoners help defend the townsfolk against the bloodthirsty mob.
The last feature for the popular actor Anatoli Papanov, Kholodnoye Leto Pyatdesyat Tretyego was seen by over 40 million people in the Soviet Union, making it the third most popular feature of 1988. This is one of the first perestroika films that showed political prisoners in a sympathetic light.