In the Russian countryside, a family lives next to a railroad track. A boy remembers when he and his parents had a cow, living off its milk and using it as a beast of burden. The cow has a calf that the boy's father sells. The cow, perhaps grieving for its lost calf, acts strangely, bolts from the boy, and meets with disaster. The boy dreams of calf, cow, train, and plow in a phantasmagoric collision. Later, the boy's remembrance of things past becomes sweet and elegiac.