The Hacienda La Rica provides a microcosm of Mexican society in the days before the Revolution of 1910. The Indian peons, supervised by cruel overseers, worked from dawn to dusk at slave wages while Don Rodrigo, their powerful overlord, grew wealthy. Accepting injustice without question, floggings without defense, the Indians are shocked at the behavior of Miguel Garcia, a stranger who drives into the hacienda looking for work. Witnessing manly strength for the first time, little Juanito is intrigued by the man who would dare quarrel with an overseer and is warmed by his generosity. Don Rodrigo who recognizes Miguel as the man he tricked out of his possessions, fears reprisal, and calls in the troops to arrest Miguel as an agitator. Through little Juanito's ingenious scheme, Miguel escapes and the two take off for the hills to join the forces of Francisco Madero. With the revolution underway, even the peons revolt and the army is torn between supporting the corrupt dictator and joining the rebels. The story of Miguel and Juanito is submerged in the latter half of the book as the feelings of the fighting men are explored. This is unfortunate -- for Mr. Bruckner succeeds in depicting a poignant, suspenseful relationship without fully resolving it. Nevertheless, his dynamic approach to the era compensates to a great extent.