Gone several years, the brooding Alejandro returns to the hacienda of his foster sister, Catalina, whom he loves, to find her married to the wealthy and effete Eduardo. Alejandro hates Eduardo and Catalina's brother Ricardo; he's rich now and has a lien on the drunken Ricardo's ranch. He also wants Catalina to run away with him. She loves him as if he was her soul, but she also loves Eduardo and is pregnant, so she won't leave. She wants Alejandro to stay nearby, a soul mate, but he, ruled by instinct and passion, stays only to hurt her. He woos Isabel, Eduardo's impressionable young sister. The passions of impossible love and corrosive hate play out against Mexico's barren high chaparral.