Based on a legend of heroism on Hainan Island in 1930s, this story is about a slave girl Qionghua who escapes from despot Nan Batian’s house and joins the Red Army. With the help of party representative Hong Changqing and her comrades, this peasant girl, who has experienced much bitterness and is thirsting for revenge, endures the trial of blood and fire, and gradually becomes a determined solider of revolution. It is a grand spectacle about the perseverant revolution spirit of Chinese women.
Prelude: In a dungeon of local despot Nan Batian (Lord of the South). Night.
A poor peasant’s daughter Qionghua is bound to a pillar, when Nan’s lackey Lao Si comes in with an order to sell her away. With her heart filled with enmity, Qionghua kicks Lao Si to the ground and runs for her freedom.
Scene One: In the pitch-dark coconut woods.Late at night.
Qionghua is captured by the minions of Nan Batian shortly after her escape. She is beaten into a comma. A heavy rain begins to fall. Believing Qionghua already dead, Nan Batian hastes away with his minions.
The Red Army cadre Hong Changqing and the messenger Xiao Pang pass by the coconut woods in disguise for a scout mission. They find Qionghua and bring her back to consciousness. Recognized her bitter sufferings, they directed her to the Red Area.
Scene Two: At the Square in the Red Area. Morning, a few days later.
Colorful flags fly under the boundless blue sky, as the soldiers and the people celebrating the founding of the Red Detachment of Women.
Upon her arrival after overcoming all kinds of difficulties, Qionghua is warmly received with great care. She tells others her sufferings, condemning the despot for his crimes, which provoked great wrath of the soldiers and the people. The Party Representative of the Detachment, Hong Changqing inspires the soldiers and the people with her bitter examples. Qionghua joins the Red Detachment, and is presented a rifle by her Company Officer.
Scene Three: In the despot’s court yard. Dusk.
Disguised as a rich Chinese businessman from overseas, Hong Changqing attends Nan Batian’s birthday feast. He has planned to fire a shot at midnight as a signal for the Red Detachment to raid the bandits.
As night falls, Qionghua sneaks into the enemy’s den to get in contact with Xiao Pang. Running into Nan Batian accidentally, she cannot suppress her rage and shoots at the despot, which lets off the combat signal too soon and enables Nan Batian to flee via an underground tunnel. Hong Changqing leads the detachment in an attack that captures the enemy’s den.
The Red Army opens Nan Batian’s barn and distributes food to the people. The poor rural folk celebrate their liberation.
Qionghua’s violation of discipline has compromised the operation plan. Hong Changqing gently reproaches her.
Scene Four: In the Red Army Camp. Early morning.
Hong Changqing lectures the Red Detachment of Women on politics. He reminds the soldiers of the need for discipline. Qionghua understands and determines to fight for the liberation of the whole country.
Rural folk pick lychees and make bamboo hats for the Red Army as a sign of appreciation. The Army and the people are like one big happy family.
An order is received and a cannon fire is heard. Rogues of Nan Batian are attacking the Red Area. Filled with confidence in victory, everyone hurries out to do his bit to conquer the enemy.
Scene Five: At a mountain pass. Before dawn
To cut the enemy off from reinforcements, the main forces of the Red Army shift quickly to the back of the enemy camp, when Hong Changqing leads the detachment to guard the mountain pass. Giving cover for his comrades to leave the base, he sustains injuries. He is knocked unconscious and captured. After coming back to consciousness, he stares at the enemy in defiance.
The Red Army moves forward in full swing to destroy the enemy.
Scene Six: In the backyard of Nan Batian’s House. At dusk.
Getting the upper hand in the combat, the Red Army closes in the enemy. Now in fear and trepidation, Nan Batian makes a final effort to fight back. He tries to force Hong Changqing to surrender. Hong gallantly refuses at the cost of his life.
As dark clouds dispel, a rainbow appears. The Red Army succeeds in liberating the coconut field and Nan Batian is killed. Qionghua takes up the post of the Party Representative. The whole community joins the Red Army and the sound of their combat songs are heard everywhere.