- KIU NGO-TIN (Kenneth Ma) is an impetuous young man who ventures out alone into Shanghai, a bustling metropolis full of opportunities, where he and KUNG SIU-SHAN (Wayne Lai), a local bully on the docks, become sworn brothers, joining forces to battle their way up to the top of the social ladders. Quick-witted NGO-TIN soon gains recognition from CHAK KAM-TONG (Kent Tong), the most influential figure on both sides of the law, who entrusts NGO-TIN with an important mission, scheming to seize control of the opium trade that he has been longing for. Taking advantage of SIU-SHAN's warlord power, NGO-TIN manages to accomplish the task.
Time flies, and a new government is formed. With the business that NGO-TIN (Anthony Wong), KAM-TONG and SIU-SHAN jointly invested continuing to expand, the three of themare riding high, becoming the big three tycoons in Shanghai. However, the three keep competing against each other for the ultimate supremacy. Though NGO-TIN is standing on the summit of his power, he is still unable to win the famous Peking Opera artist, KOO SIU-LAU's (Myolie Wu) heart, leaving him no other choice but to shift his focus to court another artist called CHO YUET-LAN (Louisa So). The pair later tie the knot. Meanwhile, behind the city's prosperous facade lurks the menace as Japan is planning a full-scale invasion of China.
In time of turmoil, union leader MO KWUN-CHIU (Pierre Ngo) defies the invaders for the people, which deeply impresses NGO-TIN. After the July 7 incident, NGO-TIN contributes money and resources to support his own country in its fight against Japan's invasion. Driven by the situation, SIU-SHAN and NGO-TIN go their separate ways, and eventually SIU-SHAN's traitorous activities result in their brotherhood breakdown. Having gone through the victory over the Japanese invasion and the revolution, from nobody to somebody, NGO-TIN, the once-formidable Lord of Shanghai, ends up being double-crossed by his protégé LAI SIU-HONG (Ron Ng). Being vilified as a traitor,NGO-TIN has to give up everything and abscond to Hong Kong, quietly living a simple life...