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After Shi Shilun, a legendary upright official, was promoted, he was kidnapped on the way to his post, and imprisoned in a villa of the kidnappers Pu Tiandiao and Wu Tianqiu. Huang Tianba, a sworn brother of Pu and Wu, together with an armed escort Li Kun, breaks into the villa, kills the Wu and his wife, while Pu Tiandiao commits suicide. The opera is adapted from a story in Legal Case of Judge Shi (Shi gong'an). It is also known as Three Sworn Brothers Break Off (Sanyi juejiao).