Barbara Daly, the dashing heir to the Bakelite plastics fortune, married above her class to Brooks Baekeland. Beautiful, red-headed and charismatic, Barbara is still no match for her well-bred husband. The birth of the couple's only child, Tony, rocks the uneasy balance in this marriage of extremes. Tony is a failure in his father's eyes. As he matures and becomes increasingly close to his lonely mother, the seeds for a tragedy of spectacular decadence are sown. From 1946 to 1972, the Baekelands' pursuit of social distinction and the glittering "good life" propels them across the globe.