Mark Robarts is a young vicar, newly arrived in the village of Framley in Barsetshire. Mark has ambitions to further his career and begins to seek connections in the county's high society. He is soon preyed upon by local Member of Parliament to guarantee a substantial loan, which Mark in a moment of weakness agrees to, even though he does not have the means. The consequences of this blunder play a major role in the plot, with Mark eventually being publicly humiliated when bailiffs begin to confiscate the Robarts' furniture. At the last moment, Lord Lufton forces a loan on the reluctant Mark.