The dance drama is set in Hainan Island, China in the 1930s. It tells a story about Qionghua, a maidservant who has escaped from the despot’s mansion. She grows from a peasant girl that has endured much bitterness into a determined revolutionary soldier after getting tested by blood and fire under the help of HONG Changqing, the Party representative of the Red Army, and his comrades-in-arms. The drama depictes a magnificent and beautiful picture scroll of Chinese women inspired with indomitable revolutionary spirit.
Prologue At Night—In the Despotic Landlord’s Dungeon
Qionghua, a poor peasant girl, is hung up and tied to a post. The henchman Laosi is asked to sell her. Seething with hatred, Qionghua kicks Laosi down and runs for her life.
Scene I Late at Night—In a Pitch-dark Coconut Grove
Not long after she escapes from the bandits’ lair, Qionghua gets arrested by evil pursuers, who beat her up as she falls into a faint. It starts pouring suddenly, and the despot, who guesses that Qionghua is dead, rushes off in a hurry with his men. The Red Army cadre HONG Changqing and the correspondent Little PENG, who are reconnoitering in disguise, pass by the coconut grove and save Qionghua. After learning about her experiences, they direct her to go to the Red Area for shelter.
Scene II On the Morning a few Days Later—In the Revolutionary Base
With coloured flags fluttering under the vast clear sky, the soldiers and people are celebrating the establishment of a red detachment of women.
Having gone through all kinds of hardships, Qionghua arrives, where she receives a warm welcome. Indignantly, she accuses the despot of his flagrant crime, arousing anger in the soldiers and people. HONG Changqing, the Party representative of the Detachment of Women, educates the soldiers and people by taking Qionghua’s family feud as an example. Qionghua joins the Red Detachment, and receives a gun from the Company Commander.
Scene III At Dusk—In the Despot’s Courtyard
Taking advantage of the despot’s birthday party, HONG Changqing disguises himself as a returned overseas Chinese baron and goes deep into the tiger’s den with a plan to fire a shot at midnight and coordinating with the Detachment of Women to annihilate the bandits. At nightfall, Qionghua sneaks into the bandits’ lair to contact Little PENG. At the sight of the despot, she fails to control her anger and fires at him arbitrarily, getting the plan exposed. The despot escapes from the tunnel. Being assertive, HONG Changqing commands the detachment calmly and attacks the bandit’s lair with his comrades-in-arms. The Red Army opens the granary and distributes grain to the poor peasants, who celebrate their liberation, all in jubilation. HONG Changqing exhorts Qionghua, who has violated discipline, disrupting operational preparations.
Scene IV On the Morning—In the Red Army’s Encampment
HONG Changqing delivers a political lesson to the Detachment of Women to boost organizational discipline. Edified by HONG Changqing, Qionghua at once becomes enlightened and takes the resolution to fight for the liberation of the whole nation. The villagers pick litchi fruits and make bamboo hats for the Red Army. The army and the people unite as one family.
A piece of news reveals that the bandits have intruded into the Liberated Area, with the roar of guns overheard. Saying goodbye to their family members, the soldiers and stretcher team go out to battle with full confidence of victory.
Scene V Before Dawn—At the Mountain Pass
The main forces of the Red Army go round to the rear of the enemy in order to annihilate its reinforcements. Under the command of HONG Changqing, the Blocking Platoon guards the mountain pass, to block the enemy. Mission accomplished, HONG Changqing covers his comrades-in-arms while they are withdrawing from the position. But, he gets wounded, falls into a coma, and captured. After reviving, he stands upright, glaring at the bandits.
The main forces of the Red Army march with the momentum of an avalanche to pursue and wipe out bandit troops.
Scene VI At Dusk—In the Despot’s Backyard
The main forces of the Red Army go from victory to victory, gradually approaching the bandits’ den. Convulsed with fear, the despot sprawls his last, trying in vain to bulldoze HONG Changqing into surrendering. HONG Changqing rebukes the despot with a flat refusal. Standing firm for the cause of justice, HONG Changqing gives up his life heroically.
The Red Army liberates Yelin Village and kills the despot. Qionghua succeeds to become the Party representative, and the masses join the Red Army one after another. They are singing the fighting song with a resounding voice.
March…march…forward to victory!