Don Nicola (nee-KOH-lah), an ambitious first-generation immigrant farmer from Italy, a foreigner, or gringo. He works hard to improve his farm and his family’s life. He increases his acreage and builds a new farm on Don Cantalicio’s land when the latter fails to make good on his debt. Don Nicola dislikes the creoles, or native ranchers, considering them lazy good-for-nothings who do not know how to work or earn money. He refuses to let his daughter Victoria see Don Cantalicio’s son Próspero, fearing that Próspero is little more than a fortune hunter. When he discovers Próspero’s interest in his daughter, he fires him and throws him out. When Próspero returns two years later, established in a profession, Nicola approves the match.
Don Cantalicio (kahn-tah-LEE-see-oh), a criollo, or a native of Argentina. He used his farm as collateral to borrow money from Don Nicola, whom he despises for being one of the foreigners “taking over” Argentina. Once a gentleman farmer who grazed cattle and raised horses, he has not adapted to the times. His penchant for town life and his gambling losses make it impossible for him to repay his debt. He is not only unable to pay the debt and interest, but he also refuses to turn over the land in place of the money. He postpones the inevitable by bringing a suit against Don Nicola. He loses the suit, but the final...
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