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In Russia during the rule of Nicholas II, Rasputin, a debauched monk with strange powers of healing, renounces his holy vows and goes to St. Petersburg to further his own ambitions. There he uses his mystical powers to influence two court aristocrats, the alcoholic Dr. Zargo and Sonia, lady-in-waiting to Tsarina Alexandra. After making love to Sonia, Rasputin hypnotizes her into causing Alexandra's young son to have a serious accident. He then miraculously cures the boy and wins the tsarina's gratitude and a place in the palace, where he slowly gains both social and political power. Zargo, who has become court physician, becomes disturbed by the monk's evil designs; and after Sonia has been driven to suicide, he joins a plot to do away with Rasputin. Poisoned food and a deadly hypodermic injection fail to have the intended effect; but in a climactic struggle, the mortally wounded Zargo forces Rasputin off a balcony into the frozen river below.