The macabre and soul-wracking story of war is restricted to the perspective of a teenage boy from a village in Belarus. Flyora digs up a rifle in post-battle trenches and, despite his mother's begging, joins the Soviet partisan forces. He continues to act flippantly – he's emerged into the new world of people who bravely fought this war, ready to show his courage too. The scenery changes fast, always staying unfriendly and foreign for a teenage boy; his grin swiftly turns into a grimace as he cries in the woods, left behind by the troops. While weeping in the forest, he meets the girl he previously saw in the camp, Glasha, alone and in tears too. Their communication is cut short by the bombing and the attack of German paratroopers.
As the story progresses, the events get even more hectic. After finding out his family was murdered, Flyora tries to take his own life, desperate to ease the grief of his loss. All he sees is death and suffering: his family is shot behind the house, his comrades die in a bombing, villagers are burnt alive with their children. In the course of two days he loses everything. At the end of the film, when the partisans manage to capture two members of the German brigade that murdered civilians, Flyora identifies one of them, but can't process his frustration and release anger even after seeing them executed. The reality he finds himself in is incomprehensible. All attempts to normalize the perception of the world are doomed, the world in which such atrocities occur can't be perceived normally. Youthfulness and mirth are turned inside out and eviscerated – all that's left are the lifeless features of Glasha as she says her goodbye to a friend, and Flyora's empty, sunken eyes, prominent wrinkles and gray hair.
At the climax of the story, Flyora shoots Hitler's portrait that soldiers brought to the village to humiliate civilians with, before killing them. The picture on the screen changes with every blast, showing a montage of clips from Hitler's life in reverse. The history goes back in time, gunshots stop when the picture of baby Hitler with his mother is shown. The boy's scorching rage is not enough to pull the trigger and do this inhumane act. The portrait is left in the dirt and Flyora abandons the village joining the partisans.
Due to the horrifying details frowned upon by Soviet censorship, the movie production was stagnant for 8 years. The screenplay was considered too graphic, some scenes were said to be discrediting the Soviet people and the army. Neither Klimov nor Adamovich lost determination; even at the beginning of his career, Elem Klimov gained a reputation as a director who was not inclined to compromise with the censors. Both director and writer believed that no matter how graphic the film would be, their goal was to release it at all costs. They stood their ground on the matters of the plot, but had to compromise with the censors on the title. The name
Kill Hitler was changed to
Come and See, which derives from the Book of Revelation, where "come and see" is an invitation to look upon the destruction caused by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.