In this sensitive Asian melodrama chronicles the two major loves in the life of a man who cannot change. The story is divided into two parts; each part focused upon one woman. The story begins in Shanghai during the early 1930's and follows the loves of Chen-pao. His early love life abroad is chronicled in the opening scenes. The real story begins as Chen-pao returns to Shanghai and stay at their friend Wang's apartment. Chen-pao meets Wang's moody, selfish wife Chiao-jui. The two begin a passionate affair. Chen-pao nicknames her "Red Rose." Chen-pao, who always likes to be in control, is tormented by his love affair. Red Rose rejoices in it. Soon she asks Wang for a divorce. This sends Chen-pao over the edge. He vows to start anew. Time passes. In the second half, Chen-pao is a businessman who woos and marries Yen-li, his "White Rose." She is from a peasant background and very young. She endeavors to be the perfect wife. More time passes. It is 1943 and Chen-pao is back to his old ways. This drives Yen-li to a breakdown. After she recovers, she too has an affair. Chen-pao encounters Red Rose on the street as the movie ends.
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