China, 1939. Li-Na is her parents' only daughter and is taken away by a government official for the use of the army. Her mother, Ai-Ling, sets off in search of her. She meets eccentric New Zealander Rewi Alley who is attempting to start up some co-operatives. They join forces and end up meeting Mao Zedong, who tries to seduce (in different ways) the beautiful but cynical Li-Na and the idealistic Rewi.