The action takes place during the socialist period in Bulgaria. The central character, nicknamed the Cock is an artistic personality, a man of strong character known as the king of the pickpockets. His keen sense of personal freedom comes up against the universally accepted norms of behavior. The Cock likes a game, adventure and danger, while socialist society needs obedience. The Cock makes a stand against this order; he does not want to play his games according to rules. He is telling his story of two decades: his imprisonment, his love affairs. To him love is a fateful meeting of two persons and has nothing to do with Philistinism. The Cock is an amiable chap though being an adventurer, trickster, and an artist by nature, irresponsible and asocial. In the mean time he wastes his gift on virtuoso thefts and monumental banquets which regularly land him in jail. In the jail the imperfect correctional methods and the chaos reigning in his own soul induce him to betray his fellow inmates. In the end the filmmakers allow him to die a dignified death. During an escape attempt before dying he saves the life of a child. His dream of life comes to an absurd end.