Before the credits we learn that the film is about the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, which has five members. A quotation gives the flavour: "Revenge is a dish best served cold". In monochrome, a gasping, blood-covered bride (Uma Thurman) looks up from a chapel floor. A hand wipes her face using a handkerchief with the name Bill in the corner, while a male voice explains that what he is about to do is not a sadistic act, but a masochistic one. Just before he shoots her in the head, the Bride tells Bill (David Carradine) that the baby she carries is his. A gunshot is heard and the opening credits begin, backed by the song "Bang Bang".
Chapter 1: #2. Pasadena. A blonde woman, the Bride, draws up in a yellow and red pickup outside a suburban home and strolls to the front door. As she rings, a flashback shows the Bride crashing to the floor and looking up to see the face of one of her attackers, Vernita Green (Vivica A. Fox). As soon as the door is open, the Bride's fist crashes into Vernita's face. A savage fight follows, first with fists, then with knives. The fight pauses when a school bus draws up outside and a little girl walks through the door. The antagonists hide their knives and pretend nothing is amiss despite the wreckage around them. They both reassure the child, Nikki (Ambrosia Kelley). The Bride mentions that she used to have a child who would be the same age as Nikki (four). Vernita sends the girl to her room. At this point Vernita is introduced as a member of the Deadly Vipers, codename Copperhead. The Bride is also a member, codename Black Mamba. The Bride makes clear that she is here for revenge but promises not to kill Vernita in front of her child. They plan a fight later, but while Vernita is preparing cereal for her child she fires a concealed gun at the Bride. She misses and the Bride kills her with a thrown knife. The child walks in, a witness to her mother's death. The Bride apologises but explains that her mother had it coming to her. She tells Nikki that if, when she grows up, she can't get past the killing, she should come find the Bride. "I'll be waiting," the Bride promises. She returns to the pickup, which is emblazoned with the words Pussy Wagon, crosses Vernita's name from a list headed "Death List Five," and drives away.
Chapter 2: The Blood Splattered Bride. Four years earlier in an El Paso wedding chapel, police are investigating a mass murder. The sheriff (Michael Parks) drives up and is told that there has been an execution-style massacre leaving nine bodies, including the bride, the groom, the preacher and his wife, the guests, and even the piano player. The sheriff strolls around commenting on the massacre, stops near the bride, and remarks on how good-looking she was. He immediately recognises the name she was using, Arlene Machiavelli, as an alias. As he kneels to look more closely at her, she suddenly (perhaps unintentionally) spits in his face. We see her rushed to a hospital, where she lies in a deep coma. A smartly dressed blonde woman walks through the hospital, whistling a tune. She finds a changing room and emerges dressed as a nurse with a red-cross patch over one eye and carrying a tray with a syringe. A title identifies her as Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah) of the Deadly Vipers, codename California Mountain Snake. She stands over the comatose Bride and says that her gift is to allow her to die in her sleep. As she prepares to inject the contents of the syringe into the Bride's IV line, her mobile phone rings. It is Bill, who orders her to abort the mission in view of the Bride's survival of their previous efforts to assassinate her, and because it would lower them. Elle is furious, but does as ordered and leaves.