Sima Zhongxian and Liu Rushuang are in love. When Zhongxian is about to go to battle, the two lovers exchange betrothal gifts. Rushuang givesZhongxian warrior’s armour; he gives her a flute. Zhongxian’s elder brother, Boling, also loves Rushuang, while the brothers’ cousin, Meizhu, has a secret love forZhongxian. Meizhu urges her aunt to ask Rushuang to marry Boling to repay a debt of gratitude to the family.
Rushuang’s elder brother, Mengxiong,and Zhongxian return from battle in triumph. Zhongxian is surprised and angry to see that his fiancee is becoming his sister-in-law. However, his mother persuades him not to protest. Considering the lifelong happiness of his sister, Mengxiong encourages Rushuang to run away with Zhongxian. For the sake of filial piety and the reputation of his family, Zhongxian has to returnRushuang’s gift.
Discontent with her marriage, Rushuang tells Boling that she loves Zhongxian and laughs at Boling for being childishly dependent on his mother. Humiliated,Boling leaves home and takes to the streets. While roaming, Boling encounters his mother and accuses her of spoiling him and being the cause of his current misfortune. At this time, Zhongxian returns, having been given a noble title. Reunited on the street, everyone from the family pours out their heart and expresses forgiveness. Finally, Zhongxian and Rusuang become man and wife.