Set in Zacatecas, a small village in northern Mexico, Azeula's novel begins with the introduction of the character Demetrio Marcias. Marcias is a simple man who is ignorant of the impending revolution. When he realizes the grave danger he and his family are in, Demetrio flees with them to the mountains, but the fugitives are soon discovered by federal soldiers. The aggressors try to rape Demetrios' wife; he scares them with a gun but does not kill them. This turns out to be a mistake. The soldiers return and burn his fields.
Demetrio joins a group of rebels to fight the aggression of the federal soldiers. During a skirmish, he is shot in the leg. While he is healing, Demetrio meets Camila, who has tended to his wound.
After this point, the character of Luis Cervantes is introduced. Cervantes is a pseudo-intellectual; the villagers are at first cautious of his big words and do not trust him. Eventually, however, he manages to persuade the men to join in the fight, especially Demetrio.
The men, and Demetrio, should have trusted their initial instincts. Cervantes cares for only one thing: himself.
In the end, disheartened and disillusioned, Demetrio takes his own life with a shotgun.