In the 16th century, Lord Hidetora decides to retire and share his territory between his three sons, Taro, Jiro, and Saburo. The latter foreseeing difficulties, opposes his decision. He is consequently disinherited. However the father soon discovers that, mocking his authority, his first two sons begin to fight.
Jiro treacherously kills Taro and then Saburo before realising that it is in fact Taro's widow who is responsible for this confusion since she had sworn to revenge Hidetora's murder of her family years ago. Now all that is left for Jiro is to die fighting the enemies of the Hidetora dynasty.