The husband of a pregnant peasant women, Qiu Ju, is involved in a planning disagreement with a local chief, resulting in the chief kicking the man in the groin. Qiu Ju decides to take the man to court, dissatisfied with the result of the case, she takes it to ever-higher courts in the hope of getting justice, and an apology, from the chief.
A dispute about the building of a shed to store chilli peppers leads to an altercation between a peasant farmer and a communist local chief, with the insulted official delivering a swift kick to the peasant's goolies. The injured man's wife Qiu Ju (Gong Li), pregnant and swaddled in scarves, tries to get restitution. Unsatisfied with legal procedures which require the chief to pay compensation but not to admit that he was wrong, she fights the case from village level to the big city courts, stubbornly refusing to accept each endorsement of the original ruling.
An odd drama of near-contemporary China, with a heroine whose admirable indomitability doesn't make her any less irritating, though harsh lessons are learned in the semi-tragic finale.