In the 19th century a young samurai, Fusanosuke, wanders in a brothel after a night of drinking and after having slashed another samurai. The samurai he has slashed is a powerful one, and now the authorities are after him. Oshin covers for him and then falls in love with him, despite the warnings of an older prostitute Kikuno. When Fusanosuke advises Oshin to give up her way of life, Oshin gives away her customers but when Fusanosuke returns he tells her he is engaged and going to be married. He never had any intention of being with Oshin. Oshin is devastated, but a samurai and a prostitute could not possibly be a match. "Impossible" he says.
Later Ryosuke, who had a tough child with his mother dying when he was five. He had to beg to stay alive. He then worked for a cook, but was more like a slave for five years. At the end of it he was cheated and didn't receive his wages. He decides he will take what was cheated from him and then end his life. Oshin slowly starts to fall in love again.
When a abusive patron bullies Kikuno, Ryosuke comes to her rescue, kills the patron in a knife fight and then flees. Oshin and Kikuno are left stranded on the roof of their house by a storm, but Ryosuke comes in a boat to the rescue in a really strange ending.
No sword play in this Akira Kurosawa written screenplay, but an interesting look at the social classes during the samurai era. We see people living in misery. Beautifully filmed, with beautiful colors. A little slow, but very well done.