In 1642, the life of the famous Dutch painter Rembrandt takes a turn for the worst. He changes from a wealthy respected celebrity to a discredited pauper. His pregnant wife, Saskia, insists that he paint the Amsterdam Musketeer Militia in a group portrait that would later become known as The Nightwatch, one of his most famous paintings. He reluctantly agrees, and soon discovers that there is a conspiracy within the Amsterdam merchants playing at soldiers maneuvering for financial advantage and personal power in the richest city in the Western World. Rembrandt then stumbles upon a murder. Confident in the birth of a longed-for son and heir, Rembrandt is determined to expose the conspiring murderers and builds his accusation meticulously in the form of the commissioned painting, uncovering the seamy and hypocritical side to Dutch Society in the Golden Age. Rembrandt's great good fortune turns. Saskia dies. Rembrandt reveals the accusation of murder in the painting and the conspirators plan revenge, and set out to discredit him. They plant a mistress, Geertje, to seduce him. They plan his social and financial ruin, and to create the circumstances for his slide into penury, insult his young mistress Hendrickje, conspire to destroy his son, and bring Rembrandt to his knees.