The series is set in a small Danish provincial town before, during and after the Second World War. The main character, Mads Skjern, a travelling salesman in drapery, arrives in the small town of Korsbæk with his young son, Daniel. The newcomer goes to the only drapery store in Korsbæk to sell his goods but is completely ignored by the pretentious and stuck-up salespeople. He is appalled at the treatment he receives and realizes that only the very wealthy customers get served here. This sparks an idea in Mads and he decides to settle in Korsbæk. He wants to start up a clothing store for the middle and lower classes in Korsbæk and is determined to take up the battle against the snobbery and hostility he was met with. Mads makes friends with the local pig farmer and borrows money to set up his store. Over the years, as his business grows in size and popularity, the hostility towards him increases among the leading families who see their position in society threatened by this parvenu. They try hard to break him and they hate him for his strength and persistence, but his ambition gradually leads him up the social ladder and eventually he succeeds in turning everything around in the conservative town.