Richard Barthelmess stars as a self-made ?bermensch who wills himself to power through a series of seductions in this existential epic from celebrated cineast G.W. Pabst (High and Low). Pierre Radier (Barthelmess) may be the love child of a leopard tamer and the son of Europe's wealthiest clan, but he's also the best bareback horseman under the big top in the States - and that's not good enough for him. Dreams of wealth and power frame his every ambition, so much so that when he falls for Joanna Ryan (Jean Muir), she rejects his offer of marriage despite her most delicate condition. Pierre claws his way out of the circus and into big business, from bicycle shop to automobile manufacturer to munitions magnate, thanks to the ministrations of a wealthy widow (Florence Eldridge), a wealthier heiress (Dorothy Burgess) and a high-society mistress (Verree Teasdale). His rapid ascent, however, is eclipsed by a steeper and tragic fall.