Since ancient times Central Asian shepherds herding their animals frequently faced attacks from wolves. To save their flocks brave horsemen would chase and grab the wolves, a skill that eventually evolved into a sport - the wolf replaced by a goat carcass. Playing among 200 individuals on the field, players demonstrated their strength, courage and honor.
Azam lives in a small, dusty village in southern Tajikistan. He is a shepherd and one of the country’s best Buzkashi players. Following the tradition of his forefathers he plays as an individual, carrying the goat across the goal line to win sheep, cars, carpets and cash in the process. His winnings have helped him maintain a good life for his household of 30 people - his two wives, 10 children, parents, and families of two absent brothers. But times are changing.
Azam’s success on the Buzkashi field is being increasingly thwarted by competitors playing under alliances, or “mafias”, putting winning above honor. Such “team” play is encouraged by his rival Khurshed, a member of Tajikistan’s nouveau riche, who believes that it is the future of the sport.
At home, Azam always believed that his children would follow in his footsteps, taking over his herds after he’s gone. But his son Tohir has bigger plans, if only his father will permit it.
Between challenges on the Buzkashi field and within his own family, Azam tries to find a place for himself in the new Tajikistan.