Two young brothers set off with their camels on a long journey to their parents. They follow an old river which is long dried out, the riverbed barely visible. The walls of abandoned houses are reminders of an earlier time, for this was once the Silk Road. But now the water has gone and with it the people and their animals. The search for new pastures was also the reason why the boys’ family had to separate. Only the youngest son was able to remain with their mother, the older one had to stay with his grandfather. This is a source of tension between the two and they must learn to get along. Soon their water supply dwindles, they lose a camel and, after coming to blows in the sand, they part. Only the meeting of a lama in a Buddhist cave temple reunites the boys and returns them to their historical journey. These boys are Yugurs, an ancient people whose culture and way of life is increasingly jeopardised by dwindling water resources. Seen through the unsentimental eyes of the children, the film describes the grave consequences of modern civilisation. By the time the boys finally reach their destination they have become inseparable. But their future is more uncertain than ever.