The story begins with Ivan and his mother Alicia, returning to the land of his birth. His mother takes a job as a servant for the Lomelí Curiel family. At the home of the Curiels, Ivan continues his studies with the generous help of Doña Carlota, until he is 19. Meanwhile, Maripaz, one of the daughters returns home after having studied abroad. She seduces Ivan and becomes pregnant. When Maripaz's mother, Lucrecia, hears of the scandal she sends men out to beat Ivan. During the brawl, one of the men is killed and Ivan is wrongfully accused of the crime. Having nothing to lose, Ivan crosses the border illegally into the U.S. and heads for Los Angeles where he meets an older businessman who adopts him and pays for his education. After 11 years, he returns to Mexico to face his past.