A bad guy is poisoning a lake in order to drive down real estate in the area. The hero beats the bad guy and starts repairs on the lake. But, doing so reveals, in the climax, that there is a multinational gang of lawyers who was supporting the bad guy and does not get beat by the hero in the story. This Evil Incorporated runs many such projects and losing this one is hardly a footnote in the ledger sheet. Further, Evil Inc. causes the hero to lose his job, which has ramifications on the hero's ability to provide medical care for his sick mother.
Is the story a success because the lake poisoner is beat or a failure because Evil Inc. is not beat.