In Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Li Mu Bai is a legendary swordsman. His old friend, Yu Shu Lien, is the head of a private security company. Li Mu Bai and Yu Shu Lien have refused to act on their feelings for each other, despite having the hots for each other for decades. Li Mu Bai has decided to retire and give his sword, Green Destiny, to his old benefactor in Beijing.
In Beijing, the sword is stolen, and the thief is followed back to the governor’s compound. The governor’s home, the notorious criminal and assassin, Jade Fox is posing as the governess to the Governor’s daughter, Jen. Yu Shu Lien becomes suspicious of Jen and fairly quickly intuits that Jen is the thief.
Jen is set to enter an arranged marriage. However, she is still in love with a desert bandit, Lo. Lo had kidnapped her previously and schtupped her good while waiting for ransom. Lo begs her to come away with him. After Lo leaves to go into hiding, Jen takes off with Green Destiny after she is married. Dressed in men’s clothing, Jen rumbles with a large group of angry men at an inn. Jen finds Shu Lien at her academy. Shu Lien informs Jen that Lo is waiting for her at Mount Wudang. This leads to a duel between the two women, and the more skilled Shu Lien defeats Jen.
Li Mu Bai arrives as the duel is concluding, and he pursues Jen. Li Mu Bai offers to take Jen as a student, but Jen refuses and is reunited with Jade Fox. Jake Fox drugs Jen and hides her in a cave. When Li Mu Bai and Shu Lien find her there, Jade Fox springs a trap and shoots Li Mu Bai with a poison dart. Jade Fox is killed in the attack and confesses that her plan was to kill Jen for hiding the sweeter kung fu moves from her in years past.
Before he dies, Li Mu Bai confesses his love for Shu Lien. Jen leaves to find Lo on Mount Wudang. She spends one last night with him. Legend had it that a young man had once jumped from Mount Wudang and had his wish granted due to the purity of his heart. Lo finds Jen standing at the jumping point. Jen invites Lo to make a wish, and he wishes that the two of them could be together again. Jen jumps off the bridge as the movie closes.