Samurai are generally written about and thought of as an honorable, humble class of people which upheld an extremely rigid and almost impossible-to-imagine or mythical-like set of rules, code of conduct and belief system and would give his life rather than break Bushido (Way of the Warrior - the Samurai's belief system). This is half true, for many samurai were this honorable warrior most of us hear about. But not all of them were this way. Many Ronin samurai (Masterless) were merely amoral crooks which used their deadly skills for wrongdoing and lining their own pockets. They had no loyalty to anybody but themselves and would betray you in a heartbeat if it was in their monetary interest to do so.
Many of these samurai were once good samurai which may have even served under a Daimyo once upon a time but later became corrupt. Been a samurai is more than simply been good with a sword, its a way of living to which you dedicate your life, so these so called samurai were looked down upon by the moralistic samurai as nothing more than crooks. History is filled with Good guys and Bad guys, and it seems Japans Samurai class were no exception!
Article by Nick Johnson, visit his website for more on the and for information on and the history of the samurai sword