Now in California, in the small town of Los Angeles, Ryan is determined to sink his roots and become a part of society -- never to run again. But here, as everywhere, trouble seeks him out. Ryan becomes embroiled in the bitter, savage struggle between Old Mexican Californios and newly arrived Yankee pioneers.
With loyalties on both sides and trusted by neither, Ryan tries in vain to maintain his neutrality. The deadly situation is rendered hopeless by his love for Maria Diaz, the fiancée of his friend Don Rafael Domingo. Ryan knows there is no escaping this final encounter with trouble. Whatever the cost, he has to see the conflict through to its inevitable, tragic climax.