In the civil wars of 16th century Japan, two ambitious peasants want to make their fortunes. The potter Genjuro intends to sell his wares for vast profits in the local city, while his brother-in-law Tobei wishes to become a samurai. Their village is sacked by the marauding armies, but Genjuro's kiln miraculously survives, and they and their wives head for the city. However, Genjuro soon sends his wife Miyagi back home, promising to return to her soon, and Tobei, in his keenness to follow the samurai, abandons his wife Ohama. Meanwhile, a wealthy noblewoman, the Lady Wakasa, shows an interest in Genjuro's pots, and invites him to her mansion.