The story takes place at the dawn of the Meiji Era in 1880, set in Ezo (now Hokkaido), the northernmost island of Japan. The Tokugawa Shogunate has just collapsed, and the Ainu aborigines strive to settle the land alongside the newly established government.
The main character, Jubei Kamata, is a relix of the Tokugawa Shogunate. During the Shogunate, his name alone terrorized Kyoto as he slew countless loyalists in the name of the Shogun. After the fall of the Shogunate, he fought in a series of battles, then vanished from sight following the fierce War of Goryokaku. Despite a relentless manhunt by the new government, he disappeared into thin air.
More than ten years have passed. Jubei has fathered children with an Ainu woman and lives in a secluded hamlet, barely eking out a living. His wife succeeded in transforming him from a man who kills, but she dies, leaving him to a quiet life raising his children and tending her grave. However poverty leads Jubei to abandon his resolve to bury his sword. Once again, he finds himself ensnared in a life of violence. With his former comrade-in-arms, he confronts hypocrites who profess to represent justice.
Again, in his new era, a vicious circle of violence begins. Men at the mercy of a turbulent age are pitted against each other in the grandeur of Hokkaido’s natural setting. The fighting and horseback scenes are on a scale that rivals those of American westerns.