Manchuria, bitterly cold Manchuria with its snow-covered mountains where life is cheap, where human greed runs rampant. But the adventurous still risk their lives to go deep into the mountains. They are hunting for the precious wild plant root called jinseng famous for its magic medicinal powers, or they are after the mink for its pelt.
On the jinseng trail are three penniless young men from milder climates. Adventure is thrust upon them by desperation. Except for poverty, they have little in common. Tu is an upright young man, always willing to sacrifice himself to help others. Crazy Lo is a tough, rough man who acts by his instincts and his instincts usually get him into trouble. Lu is the scheming type. He even hides away the wine and food when such supplies have run out.
So the three men find themselves deep in the mountains and snow. Before they come across any of the legendary jinseng, they meet Mien Mien the mink huntress.
Mien Mien, a healthy uninhibited girl, has been hunting the mink for years. She lends glamour to the otherwise tedious but risky trade.
The mink is a shy but kindhearted animal. It gets scared easily and is clever enough to dodge all traps. But its kind heart leads to its own downfall. If ever it finds an unclothed man dying in the snow, it usually tries to save him by covering his body with its own rich furs to give him the warmth. Then it is caught.
Mien Mien the huntress usually drinks some wine to build up resistance against the cold and then lies naked in the snow with a net handy. She has caught a large number of minks to make it possible for her father and herself living comfortably in a house on the snow slopes.
The three newcomers meet Mien Mien while she is trying to catch the minks naked. They scare away the minks and make Mien Mien very angry. However, they finally convince her they do not mean any harm. She agrees to take them to her father.
Daddy Chen knows everything about jinseng hunting. He tells them they have to wait until the spring. In the meantime, they could stay in his place working for him.
Days go by and the three men all fall in love with Mien Mien. Old Chen and the girl both like upright Tu. So much so the old man is willing to give her the best jinseng he ever found as the dowry.
Scheming Lu hears about it and he works out a plan. On Mien Mien's hunting day, he plies Crazy Lo with drinks. The rage Lo goes after the girl with rape in mind. Lu times his arrival very well. He "saves" Mien Mien before Lo can do any damage and then he seduces a grateful Mien Mien.
Then, it is time to get rid of the two friends. At the top of the mountain, there is a temple which is used by the government as a rehabilition centre for hard criminals. Scheming Lu strikes up a friendship with the warden.
So when old daddy Chen sends Mien Mien and the three men down to the city to sell the mink pelts, the shrewd Lu sets his plan into motion. In the city, he leads his friends to a brothel and drugs them unconscious. He takes them to the temple and hands them to the warden as new criminals. Then Lu goes to see old daddy Chen and demand the jinseng. Refused, he kills the old man. An avalanche buries the house.
Back in the city, he joins Mien Mien to wait for the two others. When they fail to show up, he goes up to the mountains with the girl only to find everything was gone and the father apparently buried by the avalanche.
Mien Mien has to settle in the city with Lu. She still has to hunt for the mink while Lu starts a mink business.
Tu [an]d Crazy Lo wake up to find themselves prisoners in the temple. Chained and tortured, they are put to hard labour. They start to resist. Finally, they get to see the abbot. Their innocence is ultimately established and the abbot sends them back to the city.
Still unaware of Lu's treachery, they visit him at the shop. The meeting is strained as Mien Mien is now Lu's mistress. This starts young Tu to think.
After much investigation, Tu is convinced his scheming friend is the wrongdoer. He wins over the support of Mien Mien, Crazy Lo and the abbot. The abbot is disguised as old daddy Chen and comes to the city. Mien Mien welcome him as if he were her real father.
A nervous Lu goes up to the slope and digs out the old man's body. He is caught and has to pay his debt in blood.