At the place where two years earlier they had won their first victory, Demetrio's troops "step along the steep crags, buoyed up by the happiness of the morning". It does not matter "where they are going, or where they are coming from...all that matters is to walk...endlessly, without ever stopping, to possess the valley, the mountain plains, far as the eye can reach". Demetrio tells his men how "in this same sierra...with just twenty men (he) killed five hundred Federals", and as he describes that "famous exploit", the men begin to realize the danger they are facing now. Firing begins in the distance, and the young recruits turn to flee; angry, Demetrio orders his men to "shoot any man who runs away". Suddenly, the enemy, who has been lying in ambush, opens fire on the small band with machine guns, and Demetrio's men "fall like wheat under the sickle". Demetrio "sheds tears of rage" as he watches his friend Anastasio fall from his horse to lie still and lifeless on the ground, and sees the loyal Venancio fall "close beside him, his chest horribly riddled with bullets".
Finding himself alone, Demetrio finds a protected position, and begins to shoot. He revels in his expert marksmanship; "wherever he settles his glance, he settles a bullet". As he takes aim a final time, the scene shifts to the "sierra...clad in gala colors". At the foot of a crevice "as...magnificent as...an old cathedral", Demetrio Macias lies dead, his eyes "fixed in an eternal stare" as he continues "to point the barrel of his gun (Part 3, Chapter 7).