Jang Seung-Up (Choi Min-sik) is a Korean peasant and a gifted artist. Upper-class Kim Byung-Moon (Ahn Sung-ki) discovers Jang and, recognizing his talent for painting, agrees to become his patron. As a result, Jang's skills continue to develop and his profile rises. He falls in love with Mae-Hyang (You Ho-Jeong), but class differences keep them apart. When Jang learns Mae-Hyang has married, he succumbs to a self-destructive downward spiral of alcoholism and womanizing.