After the death of Addison Mizner, people who knew him, including his estranged lover Hollis Bessemer, comment on his life and the way he squandered his talents. Addisonclaims that his brother Wilson was the cause of all his failures.
On his deathbed, Papa Mizner charges his sons with the task of using their gifts to shape America. Mama Mizner tells the brothers that their family's wealth has been eaten away by Papa's long illness and advises them to seek gold in Alaska; Addison is reluctant, but goes along with Wilson anyway.
In Alaska, Wilson leaves to get supplies while Addison works the claim: Wilson is lured into a game of poker, which he is initially bad at but masters quickly. Addison comes to find him, and is shocked to discover that his brother has become a gambler. Wilson stakes their gold claim in a poker game and wins the saloon in which the game is taking place.
Addison leaves in disgust with his share of winnings and travels around the world searching for business opportunities and a sense of purpose . All of his ventures fail due to bad luck, and he is left with nothing but a collection of souvenirs - but the souvenirs inspire him to take up architecture so that he can design a house in which to show them off. Meanwhile, Wilson's businesses in Alaska have failed, and he comes south in the hopes of getting help from Addison. Addison has only just begun to practice as an architect, and Wilson seduces and marries his first client, a rich widow, and fritters away her money on various flashy endeavours. Mama Mizner, who is being looked after by Addison and never receives any visits from Wilson, enjoys reading about Wilson's exploits.. Only Addison remains uncharmed by Wilson, and when Wilson finally comes back, his resources exhausted, he finds that Mama has died in his absence. Addison angrily throws Wilson out of the house.
Later, there is a land boom in Florida. Addison travels to Palm Beach to take advantage of the many rich people settling there. On the train he meets Hollis Bessemer, with whom he is instantly smitten. Hollis explains his situation: he is the son of a wealthy industrialist, but he has been cut off by his father for refusing to enter the family business. His real passion is art, and although he is not himself talented enough to become an artist, he dreams of creating an artists' colony in Palm Beach.
Hollis and Addison arrive at Palm Beach, and Addison shows Hollis's aunt a plan for a house he proposes to build for her. Impressed, she agrees and offers to sponsor the artists' colony. However, Hollis and Addison, now lovers, are too busy designing resort homes for the rich and enjoying each other's company - until Wilson arrives destitute and sick. Addison reluctantly takes him in, and when Wilson has recovered he begins to work on Hollis, persuading him to be a patron to his newest scheme: to build a brand-new city in Boca Raton with Wilson as promoter and Addison as chief architect.
But Wilson's conman instincts resurge, and he promotes the Boca Raton real estate scheme with increasingly extravagant and eventually fraudulent claims, Addison goes along with this, and it is Hollis who finally puts a stop to both the real estate scheme and his relationship with Addison. Brought to a state of desperation by all that has happened, Addison tells Wilson to get out of his life
Returning to the first scene, Wilson realises that he, too, has died. Their differences no longer mattering enough to keep them apart, the brothers set out together on the road to eternity.
http://www.fourthwallmagazine.co.uk/2011/07/review-road-show-menier-chocolate-factory/ (by heck, this is pompous)