Director Masaki Kobayashi uses the sharpest-edged knife in this cutting indictment of selfishness, greed, and the competition for the wealth of a dying man. A moribund business tycoon expresses his desire to finally see his three illegitimate children before he dies, but his wife blocks his request. She has no intention of letting some sentimental final meeting take away any of her due as wife and companion. Meanwhile, the sick man's secretary is brought into the picture when he decides to write her up as his mistress -- and thereby make her an heir to his fortune. Things go from bad to worse as the man approaches death and those around him struggle to keep their hand in his pot of gold.