After drifting as a migrant worker in the city for a year, Maofu returns to his family bee farm in rural Northern China. Maofu brings along big ideas for marketing and honey sales. However, his father Lao Yu emphasizes a heart felt connection with the bees which comes from generations of traditional beekeeping.
Now, in his declining years, Lao Yu witnesses the environmental degradation and pollution that has also depleted his bee colonies. He is struggling with his own self-worth and values, and mixed emotions of whether his son should even stay in this traditional area of work and trade. In the end, he makes the ultimate sacrifice cutting down a family tree, to build the new bee boxes while securing a portion of it for his own coffin. The animals on the farm echo the emotional intensities of father and son, sometimes providing an unexpected comic relief.