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Medical student John Wesley Beaven is devoted to his professor, Dr. "Tubby" Forster, a man renowned for his surgical skill as well as his cold heart. After completing his degree, John works diligently as Forster's assistant, adopting his mentor's ideal that science is pure fact and that the soul of man never enters into its practice. When he performs a successful operation on Audrey Hilton to heal a bullet wound she had suffered in the Japanese- Chinese war, John falls in love with her, and thereby renews his belief in the human spirit. Audrey, also known as Lan Ying, is an American reared by a Chinese family in Shanghai, and has dedicated her life to China. When John proposes marriage, she does not respond until she completes her personal mission, to repay her personal debt to her Chinese father, who was killed in Shanghai. Upon fulfilling her duty, she returns to John to marry him, but Forster interferes and convinces her that she would ruin John's life. Audrey returns to China, and John continues his work, severely depressed by Audrey's rejection. When he discovers Forster's interference, he travels to China to find Audrey, but stops at a war-torn hospital in Shen Tin to help a French surgeon, Dr. La Ferrierre, tend the wounded. John receives a serious head injury during an air raid, and when Forster hears this news, he travels to Shen Tin to operate on John. Despite primitive conditions, the operation is successful, but John remains in a coma. Finally, Audrey is found and brought to John's bedside, and her presence inspires his complete rehabilitation. Having witnessed a miracle and triumph of the spirit, Forster asks Audrey's forgiveness.