Based on John Nichols' novel, the film tells the tale of Joe Mondragon (Chick Vennera), a lone Chicano handyman who illegally irrigates his parched beanfield using water that was earmarked for a major development. This tiny act snowballs, setting in motion a chain of events that have overwhelming consequences for both Joe and the people of his town. Ruben Blades portrays Milagro's sheriff, Bernabe Montoya. Sonia Braga plays Ruby Archuleta, the beautiful owner of Milagro's auto repair shop. Christopher Walken is the undercover agent for the state police. At its heart, it is the story of a group of people who fight, in their own unique manner, to protect and preserve a way of life.