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In the middle of the 19th century, the tyrannical Czar Nicholas I of Russia struggles to bring the rebellious mountain tribes of the Caucasus under his domain. Strongest of the hostile tribal chieftains is Hadji Murad, "The White Warrior" [or "The White Devil" according to foreign sources] who proposes to lead his warriors against the Czar's troops. Opposing his plan is the villainous Akmet Khan, a rival chieftain who covets Hadji's betrothed, Sultanet. Betrayed by Akmet, Hadji is captured and turned over to Prince Sergei, commander of the Russian garrison. Hadji refuses to sign a peace treaty, and Sergei has him tortured, despite the pleas of his own wife, Princess Maria, who has fallen in love with Hadji. Meanwhile, Akmet captures Hadji's motherless son and threatens to have him beheaded unless Sultanet agrees to a forced marriage. Hadji, aided by a faithful lieutenant, escapes from his captors, however, and rescues both his son and Sultanet. After slaying Akmet in a hand-to-hand battle, Hadji continues the struggle for freedom.