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Former Bolshevik Police Commissar Yevgraf Zhivago, now a general in charge of a huge Soviet dam, has traced a young girl whom he believes to be the daughter of his half brother, Yuri, and the beautiful Lara. ... The orphaned Yuri goes to live in Moscow with the family of aristocrat Alexander Gromeko. He becomes a doctor and later marries Gromeko's daughter, Tonya. Yuri meets Lara, the daughter of dressmaker Amelia, when he helps save her life after a suicide attempt prompted by her seduction by Komarovsky, Amelia's lover. Yuri and Lara meet again at a party, where Lara vengefully shoots and wounds Komarovsky. She is taken from the party by a young political idealist, Pasha, whom she soon marries. When the Great War breaks out in 1914, Yuri goes to the front to aid the soldiers, and again encounters Lara, who has become a nurse. They fall in love, but though she has been deserted by Pasha, their relationship remains platonic. When Yuri returns to Moscow, he finds the city changed by the revolution. The Gromeko home has been taken over; the government looks with disfavor on Yuri's poetry; and he and his family, cold and starving, travel by train to their country estate in the Urals. At a library in nearby Yuriatin, Yuri again meets Lara, who is in the town to see Pasha, now known as the bandit general Strelnikov. At her apartment, Yuri and Lara make love, and their affair continues for some months. With Tonya pregnant, however, Yuri sees Lara for what he says will be the last time. On his way back to the estate, he is conscripted by the Red Army. In northern Russia, Yuri deserts the army and makes his way hundreds of miles to Yuriatin. He finds that his family has been deported to France, and he goes to Lara's apartment. Yuri and Lara are soon met by Komarovsky, who tells them that they are in danger, Yuri for his poetry and his family's associations with partisan groups in Paris, and Lara because of her associations both with Yuri and her husband. Yuri and Lara move to the estate, where they stay until they can no longer hide. (There Yuri writes a series of poems dedicated to Lara.) About to flee, Yuri changes his mind at the last moment and decides to stay in his homeland. Many years later, Yuri is helped by Yevgraf to find a job. As he travels to work on a streetcar, he sees Lara. He desperately makes his way through the crowded vehicle until he, too, is on the street, but when he tries to call to her, he collapses. Eventually, Lara is arrested, and she spends her last years in a labor camp. ... The young girl has only vague recollections of her past, and the photographs of Lara and Yuri in the latter's book of verse mean nothing to her. She leaves with her boyfriend, and, looking at her from afar, Yevgraf is certain of her identity.