Director Ricardo Benet's first feature roots its drama in the arid landscape and unhurried rhythms of the Mexican desert, where a group of impoverished families have traded subsistence-level jobs in Mexico City for homesteads far from the highway, with no electricity and little water. As Beto, who was a boy when his family left the city, drives his family through a barren land with no evidence of human settlement except a gravestone, he recalls his childhood: his father who taught him how to make bricks, his mother who became catatonic with grief after the death of his younger brother, and his older half-brother Martín, whom he worshipped. When restless Martín leaves home for Mexico City with only his father's phone number, his misadventures send him on a downward spiral. On the road, the bus breaks down, Martín is robbed by his fellow travelers, finds shelter with a mysterious young man, and finally works his way to Mexico City, where he lives in a homeless shelter, sees television for the first time, sells mints on the train, and briefly becomes involved with an older waitress with problems of her own. His father seems to have disappeared. Failing to make a living in Mexico City, Martín returns home, where his family's life has continued its inexorable slide toward tragedy. The promise of California, just over the border, ensures that history will repeat itself once more.