| When the Prime Minister’s daughter Li Banyue, accompanied by her maid, Chuncao, goes to Huashan on an incense-offering pilgrimage, she is harassed by Wu Du, son of the Minister of Civil Service. A chivalrous young man, Xue Meiting, happens to pass by and comes to their rescue. Then Wu abducts and beats to death a commoner, a girl named Zhang Yulian.
Xue, fuelled by righteous anger, fights Wu and kills him by accident. He gives himself up at the court of the prefecture. Lady Yang, Minister Wu’s wife and mother of Wu Du, tries to force Prefect Hu to flog Xue to death on the spot. Chuncao the maid barges in to defend Xue. As Prefect Hu cares more for power than justice, Chuncao lies that Xue is the Prime Minister’s son-in-law. Prefect Hu takes Chuncao to the Prime Minister’s Residence to confirm. Chuncao persuades her mistress to acknowledge Xue as her husband. In a sycophant attempt to please a superior official, Prefect Hu orders a guard to deliver a letter to the Prime Minister in the capital. Annoyed by his daughter’s improper behaviour of marrying without consulting him, the Prime Minister denies that Xue is his son-in-law, and returns with an order that Hu is to deliver Xue’s head to the capital instead.
Chuncao and her mistress cleverly change the content of the letter. On receipt of the letter, Hu is overjoyed and dutifully sends Xue to the capital, complete with celebratory banners and a music procession. The news rattles the capital and all officials send gifts and congratulations. Even the Emperor presents them with an imperial inscription. Prime Minister Li cannot but accept Xue as his son-in-law.