Set in a remote mountainous region of southern China, the film is about a Hani tribe girl, Ruoma (Li Min) who dreams of seeing the outside world. Ruoma lives with her grandma and sells roasted corn in a market for fifty cents an ear. Beautifully attired in Hani ethnic clothing, she by chance catches the eye of a penniless photographer, Aming (Yang Zhigang). They soon becoming friends and he gets the idea of making money by having her pose with tourists beside a famous World Heritage site. Charging ten yuan per photo, they hope to make some money. Ruoma does her job well, sweetly smiling with the tourists while dreaming of going to the big city and riding in a glass elevator. She also falls in love with Aming.
Chris crashes into a carload of other young people, and the group of stranded motorists is soon lost in the woods of West Virginia, where they're hunted by three cannibalistic mountain men who are grossly disfigured by generations of inbreeding.
This is the story of three gentle persons: Paul Rivers an ailing mathematician lovelessly married to an English émigré, Christina Peck, an upper-middle-class suburban housewife, happily married and mother of two little girls, and Jack Jordan, an ex-convict who has found in his Christian faith the strength to raise a family.