Li Xuelian and her husband Qin Yuhe stage a fake divorce to secure a second apartment in the city reserved by the government for single people. Qin remarries six months later – as agreed – but to a different woman. Furious, Li files a lawsuit with the county court but loses the case. Refusing to accept the court's findings, Li appeals to the chief justice, the county chief, and even the mayor, but fails at every turn. After Qin publicly accuses Li of being a "promiscuous woman" because she was not a virgin on their wedding night, Li is driven back to the courts to redeem her reputation. Li makes her way from county to city, enduring one trial after another, until she decides to make her appeal in far-off Beijing.
Ten years go by, and the cases of Li's divorce and her ruined reputation have not been resolved. Li has continued to travel to Beijing every year but must face those who wish to quash her efforts every step of the way.