Deep in the lush forest of Eastern Taiwan, a forest ranger patrols the land from the seat of his motorbike - this man is Ahronglong Sakinu. Sakinu is committed not only to protecting the forest but also his family's ancient traditions. Next the film takes a step back in time and we see Sakinu as a young boy learning how to hunt. His father not only teaches him the skills necessary to capture animals to provide for himself but also the underlying philosophy behind being a hunter to respect the hunted and the nature. Sakinu's first attempts at hunting are poignant yet humorously portrayed, as we see him and his father outsmarted by a flying squirrel.
Returning to the present we learn Sakinu is happily married with a family of his own, living at one with nature. However, their traditional lifestyle is threatened when they hear the government plans to destroy their sacred land, an ancestral burial site of the tribe, by building an expressway. Sakinu is elected by his fellow clansmen to venture to the capital, Taipei, to meet with the authorities with the mission of changing their minds about the planned development.
While viewed as a powerful and respected hunter in his home village Sakinu is like a fish out of water when he enters the city. From the moment he steps from the train at Taipei station he encounters many challenges. Fate plays its hand and a chance meeting allows Sakinu to reveal to the government official the tribe's deep connection to the land. However, the skeptical official is not convinced, so Sakinu invites him to stay with his tribe. Initially, the officer refuses, but sees the visit as a good excuse not to spend the weekend with his mother, and he agrees to return to the mountains in eastern Taiwan with Sakinu.
An unlikely bond begins to develop on the return journey as the officer slowly gains an appreciation for traditions and for nature. On meeting Sakinu's family - a family which is financially poor but rich with love - the officer finds himself more enamored of the lifestyle his government plans to destroy. Inspired by the unity of the tribal community the officer returns to Taipei determined to prevent the expressway from being built and personally determined to mend the riftin his own family.