Adapted from Alexander Pushkin's story, an officer dines with the Czarina but deserts the army and becomes an outlaw to get back the estate stolen from his late father.
Czarina Catherine II (Louise Dresser) meets Lt. Vladimir Dubrovsky (Rudolph Valentino) on the road, and she invites him to supper. She gives him her horse. He throws out wine and pretends to drink. She pretends to cry and kisses him. When she goes to change, he leaves. She orders Dubrovsky brought back, dead or alive. She asks Captain Kuschka (Albert Conti) if he wants to be a general and dines with him.
Kyrilla Troekouroff (James Marcus) has taken over the Dubrovsky estate. His daughter Mascha Troekouroff (Vilma Banky) visits him. Dubrovsky comes home and finds his father dead. Peasants ask him to free them from Kyrilla. Dubrovsky wears a mask and becomes known as the Black Eagle. A young woman tells him that Kyrilla took her possessions; so he robs a man and gives her the money.
The Eagle's men abduct Mascha on the road, but the Eagle frees her. After she runs, he puts her on his horse. Dubrovsky pays for a carriage and gives a French tutor a ride to Kyrilla's estate. Dubrovsky gives the tutor's letter to Kyrilla and pretends to be Marcel Le Blanc. She sees him wearing the Eagle's ring, and he gives it to her from the Eagle. He gives Kyrilla a threatening note from the Eagle.
At a banquet Kyrilla gets another threatening note. Mascha tells her tutor that she hopes the Eagle will not take vengeance. He dances with her. Kyrilla sends the tutor to the wine cellar for a reward and locks him in with a bear on a chain. Dubrovsky shoots the bear to save Mascha, who faints.
The Eagle's men are waiting for vengeance, and Mascha leaves her Bible open where God says to leave vengeance to Him. She hides in a closet and sees him take a gun. Masked he goes to Kyrilla's bed, but she comes in with a gun. The Eagle escapes, and Kyrilla finds that her gun is not loaded.
As the tutor, Dubrovsky promises Mascha that the Eagle will not harm her father while he is there. She sees Dubrovsky strangling Kyrilla, but they say it is a neck massage. Dubrovsky massages her neck very gently, but she says she hates him. They see one of the Eagle's men being questioned, and Dubrovsky says that he is the Eagle. Mascha admits that she loves him, and they kiss. She helps him escape with the prisoner. Cossacks capture them and take them to the Czarina for the reward. Captain Kuschka asks the Czarina to free Dubrovsky, but she orders Kuschka to execute him. As his last request Dubrovsky is allowed to wed Mascha. The Czarina asks Kuschka to save Dubrovsky. The execution is over, but he has her sign a passport for Marcel Le Blanc, and Dubrovsky leaves with Mascha.
This romantic comedy reflects the universal theme found
in the Robin Hood and Zorro stories. Adventure and excitement
are achieved by going around the law to correct the injustices
of wicked rulers. Catherine II was famous for having a series
of lovers, but in this story a courageous man rejects her.