A prostitute from the Northeast, desperate and unable to make ends meet, abandons her baby. An unemployed factory worker decides to take the child for the 200 yuan (about $37 Canadian) a month in child support promised by its mother. His early attempts at child-rearing are somewhat painful to watch, but also charming and amusing. Eventually, he and the mother become friendly and it seems that the child will be raised in a sweetly unorthodox family. However, when the woman's pimp, a local gangster, not only finds out that he may have fathered the child, but also that he is dying of cancer, he decides that he must adopt the baby - and is willing to resort to violence if necessary.