In Texas near the border of Mexico, an arrogant new border patrolman Mike Norton mistakenly kills the Mexican cowboy Melquiades Estrada and buries him in the desert. When Melquiades's body is accidentally found one week later, his best friend, the ranch foreman Pete Perkins, claims the body to fulfill his promise and bury Melquiades in his hometown of Jimenez and presses the local sheriff Belmont to find the killer. However, Melquiades is not delivered to Pete because he is not his relative, and his body is reburied in the local cemetery. When Rachel discloses the identity of the killer, Pete kidnaps Mike and forces him to dig up the grave and bring the body to Melquiades's family in Mexico. While in their journey to Mexico, the sad reality of the hopeless Mexicans that live in the proximity of the border with USA is disclosed.