Wang Zi'er and Chen Baolian are engaged to each other by their parents before they are born. Baolian’s father breaks off the engagement when Wang’s family fortunes declines. Learning what her father has done, Baolian secretly asks her cousin Baochai to give Zi'er her private savings and the message that she wants him to take the imperial examination in the capital and bid him return triumphant for her hand. On her way to Zi'er’s home, Baochai encounters knight errant Zhang Yanxiong. They fall in love with each other and set a date for marriage. Unfortunately, local tyrant Zhang Dahong abducts Baochai and forces her to marry him. On the day of the wedding, Yanxiong, the cousin of Dahong, happens to officiate the ceremony. In the midst of the ceremony, Yanxiong recognizes Baochai and thinks she has betrayed his love. Later, after Baochai reveals what really happened, they reconcile and flee Dahong’s house separately. Baochaiseeks refuge with Baolian, and the two are subsequently adopted by Dahong’s father and they live in his house.
After winning the highest honors in the imperial examination for civil and military service, Zi'er and Yanxiongreturn to their hometown to pay tribute to their ancestors. On their journey they pay a visit to Dahong’s father, who happens to be their mentor. They also meet Baochai andBaolian, who are boating on a lotus pond, and the two pairs of lovers are reunited and married. Learning about his son’s wicked behavior,Dahong’s father disregards blood ties and brings his own son to justice.