Julia Montaño is a proud, strong-willed young woman, the beauty of San Gaspar—an obscure little town whose founder, Don Julio (Julia’s father), is its wealthiest and most powerful landowner. Julia has taken the reigns of the family hacienda, her indolent brother Alvaro being a lazy ne’er-do-well who drinks all the time and feels himself above the law. Soledad, the youngest in the family, is a timid young thing, virtually ignored by Don Julio, who seeks shelter in her fantasies.

Don Julio and his friend Ignacio wished for their two children, Julia and Francisco, to wed so they could join their fortunes and their haciendas into one; but Julia broke off the engagement when she discovered that Francisco had cheated on her with Eva, the trollop of San Gaspar. Since then, many have tried to win her heart, but Julia is wary of men and treats them with contempt.

Don Julio has fallen in love with Casandra, a grasping, opportunistic woman who cares only for his money. Casandra lives in Mexico City, likes to gamble for high stakes, and keeps a stable of casual lovers…until she meets Gabriel, who quickly becomes her obsession. During a private poker game arranged by Casandra, Gabriel’s lucky hand wins him the deed to Ignacio’s hacienda. Ignacio begs Gabriel for a three-month grace period to get together the money to redeem his land. Out of curiosity, Gabriel travels to San Gaspar to have a look at the hacienda and, when he meets Julia, there is an instant attraction between them. This is more enough reason to convince Gabriel to stay. Julia, however, is unnerved by the feelings Gabriel has awaken in her heart.

Her jealousy aroused, Casandra begins to poison Don Julio’s mind against a possible relationship forming between his daughter and the newly arrived “stranger.” Casandra wants it all—to marry Julio and to keep Gabriel as her lover. When Ignacio fails to redeem the deed to his land, Gabriel takes possession of the hacienda. Don Julio, infuriated, uses his influence on the townspeople to thwart him at every turn. However, Gabriel will not go down without a fight; he is determined to do whatever it takes to best Don Julio at his game, and to win Julia’s love with every fiber of his being.