The film is set in Russia during the Time of Troubles, a period of civil disorder, famine and foreign invasion that followed the fall of the Rurik dynasty, which had ruled Russia in various capacities from 862 to 1598. The protagonist, Andrey, had been a servant at Tsar Boris Godunov's court while he was a boy, where he became the sole witness to the murder of the tsar's family by the order of plotting boyars. Now, ten years later, he travels across Russia with a Spanish nobleman, Alvaro Borja. After Borja is killed by robbers, Andrey disguises himself in his dead master's clothes and assumes his name, taking the guise of a "Spanish knight." Andrey is unable to forget the tsar's daughter, the beautiful Princess Xenia, who he suspects survived the massacre of the tsar's family, and launches into a series of adventures in search of her. Andrey's story of love is played out against the background of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth's military intervention in the dispute for the throne and the ensuing power struggle.