What Cheng Huan sees of the behaviour of 'westerners' in China convinces him that he should take the teachings of Buddha abroad for the enlightenment of others less fortunate than himself. On arriving in London's Limehouse as a missionary, he is quickly disillusioned by the locals' reluctance to accept his teachings of peace and embarks on a life as small shopkeeper - with occasional visits to the local Chinese entertainments. Battling Burrows is a xenophobic prizefighter who's fond of drink and womanising. His adopted fifteen year-old daughter, Lucy, is frequently the convenient outlet for his temper and he beats her regularly. She is underfed and wears ragged clothes but, whilst shopping, is noticed by Cheng Huan as the priceless young beauty that she is. Following a savage beating, Lucy escapes and collapses in Cheng Huan's shop. He, lovingly, takes care of her, feeds her well and dresses her in beautiful silks.An acquaintance of Burrows discovers Lucy while Cheng Huan has to go across the street to get change for half-a-crown. On hearing the intelligence that his daughter is with a foreigner, Burrows visits the shop while the shopkeeper is out, smashes everything in sight and takes Lucy home and beats her so badly that she dies. On finding Lucy missing and the havoc caused by Burrows' rage, Cheng Huan takes a pistol and embarks on the final act of retribution in this sad, and very violent, melodrama.