Esko, a stubborn and short-tempered young son of a cobbler, is on his way to be married at his bride’s estate. The marriage has been arranged by his parents, who are aiming to collect the 500 dalers that a certain corporal left in his will to whichever of the two marries first: Esko or Jaana, the family’s adopted and to some extent neglected daughter. Since Jaana has absolutely refused to take Esko’s hand, the parents have denied her a right to marry until Esko has tied the knot. On his arrival to the wedding scene, Esko discovers that the celebration is already in full swing and that, more disappointingly, due to a misunderstanding the bride is about to marry someone else. At first, Esko takes the news well and joins the wedding, but as the disappointment grows he picks a fight with one of the musicians. After losing the fight, the humiliated and angry Esko turns to the bride’s father and groom and threatens them with legal action. He also accuses the bride of being unfaithful to him, then turns over the wedding table, breaks the house’s windows, and flees the place. On his way back, Esko gets himself drunk and ends up running around in the woods, where he ultimately meets his brother Iivari and uncle Sakeri. The two are at the centre of the play’s major comedic subplot, which involves rumours of a master thief worth 700 dalers to whoever manages to capture him. The play ends with Jaana’s marriage, which takes place after the return of her biological father Niko, who has disguised himself as the master thief in order to trick Iivari and Sakeri into giving him a free ride back to his daughter’s home.