In 1874, a deathly-ill woman named Sayo gives birth to a baby girl in a women's prison. Naming the child Yuki from seeing the snow outside, Sayo confided to the inmates who helped deliver the baby how she was brutally raped by three of the four criminals who murdered her husband Tora and their son Shiro a year ago. While she managed to stab her captor Shokei Tokuichi to death when the chance presented itself, she was arrested and imprisoned for life. Sayo then seduced many prison guards in order to conceive Yuki. Her final words were for the child to be raised to carry out the vengeance against the three remaining tormentors. In Meiji 15 (1882), the child Yuki undergoes brutal training in sword fighting under the priest Dōkai to become her mother's wrath incarnate.
Yuki, now twenty and an assassin going by the name Shurayuki-hime, blocks the path of several men and a rickshaw and kills them and their leader Shibayama using a sword concealed in the handle of an umbrella. Yuki appears in a poor village looking for a man called Matsuemon, the leader of an underground organization of street beggars, and asks him to find her mother's surviving tormentors in return for having killed Shibayama for him. Matsuemon's intel leads her to Takemura Banzō, an alcoholic wreck with gambling debts whose daughter Kobue works as a prostitute to support him. After convincing the gambling house's owners to pardon Banzō after he was caught cheating in a card game, Yuki leads him to the beach and remorselessly kills him after revealing her identity. Yuki then learns that the last of her mother's rapists, Tsukamoto Gishirō, had suspiciously died in a ship wreck three years prior when she first attempted to find him.
After attacking Gishirō's tombstone in frustration, Yuki finds herself being followed by a reporter named Ryūrei Ashio. She warns him to stay away from her. Ashio learned of Yuki's story from Dōkai who persuaded him to publish it as a means to draw out one of Sayo's tormentors, and the man who murdered Shiro: Kitahama Okono. Okono sends men to kidnap Ashio, threatening him with torture for Yuki's location, but Ashio refuses to tell. Yuki enters Okono's estate and kills several of Okono's men while pursuing Okono. Yuki and Ryūrei find Okono's dying body hanging within a room. Yuki slices Okono in half.
Ashio tells Yuki that Gishirō is his father, and had faked his death when he learned of Yuki's mission. She finds Gishirō at a masquerade ball and kills a man acting as his decoy. Ashio and Yuki find and follow the real Gishirō, who shoots Ashio. Wounded, Ashio grapples with Gishirō and stops him from shooting Yuki as she swings on a lamp between balconies. Yuki stabs through Ashio into Gishirō's chest. She then cuts Gishirō's throat as he shoots her. He falls over a railing and onto the ground floor full of guests.
Yuki, wounded, stumbles outside where she is stabbed by a waiting Kobue, who has been pursuing Yuki all this while in her own quest to avenge her father's murder. Yuki manages to escape, only to collapse on the snow, apparently dead. The following morning, however, she opens her eyes.
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