Having suffered a decline in his family fortunes, Hong Tianbao decides to sell an heirloom sword to raise the money for going to the capital to take the imperial examination. He encounters Deru, who generously gives him the money. Unfortunately, the money is snatched by a bandit. In their pursuit, Hong and Derumeet Jingniang, daughter of senior minister Ge Daxiong. She falls in love with Hong at first sight. Her father also takes a liking to him and agrees that they can get married. Hong defeats a warrior subordinate toDaxiong and is appointed vanguard leader; Deru offers his service to Hong.
Having spent two years in the army away from home since he got married, Hong decides to return to his wife. Deru overhears Daxiong’s plot to assassinate the emperor and informs Jingniang. To protect Hongfrom this traitorous association, Jingniang pretends to have an affair with Deru. Infuriated, Hong writes a letter of divorce, and Jingniang is expelled by her father.
Daxiong sets up an ambush on the emperor and the empress. Hong, who happens to pass by, successfully rescues the emperor. He is awarded a high post and goes to the capital to assume office.Jingniang and Deru, on the other hand, are leading a miserable life in their hometown. When picking firewood in the mountain with woodcutters, Jingniang is punished for accidentally blocking the way of Hong, who is now a lord. Seeing that the woodcutter is Jingniang, he is so angry that he intends to severely punish her and Deru. Later, Daxiong is arrested and Jingniang’s name is cleared. Full of regrets, Hong apologizes to her. She pleads with the emperor on behalf of her father, who is eventually exempted from the death penalty.