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In 1838, in the town of La Loma, a province of Spanish California, mayor Don Alberto, and his brother, Commandante Emilio, intend to starve the townspeople into giving up their property. Meanwhile, Don Marco Ramirez, a wealthy aristocrat, buys food in order to thwart Alberto's plan. As Marco and Santa Fe Stewart travel to La Loma with the provisions, they are attacked by Indians sent by Emilio. Marco is wounded in the ensuing fight and, as he lies dying, he instructs Santa Fe to take the food to the poor. When Santa Fe arrives in the village, Emilio arrests him as a smuggler and confiscates the food. Meanwhile, Alberto tells Marco's wife, Doña Marco, and daughter Dolores that Santa Fe is responsible for Marco's death. Santa Fe escapes from jail and prevents Juan, a poor villager whose family is starving, from killing Alberto. He then waylays Alberto's clerk, Pancho, who has been entrusted with a gold shipment, and gives the gold to Juan and the other poor people of La Loma to buy food. Then Santa Fe follows Alberto to the Ramirez household and convinces Dolores that Marco was his friend. When troops arrive, Dolores helps Santa Fe escape. One day Santa Fe holds up the governor, who is in disguise so that he may investigate the charges of oppression against the peasants. In town, the governor is arrested for consorting with Santa Fe but Santa Fe manages to escape. Alberto, Emilio and the soldiers leave the fort overnight, after ordering the governor to be shot at dawn. In their absence, the fort is taken over by the townspeople who are led by Santa Fe, just in time to forestall the governor's execution. When Emilio and Alberto return, the governor shoots Emilio and exiles Alberto. Then, the governor appoints Juan to be the new mayor and Santa Fe the commandante, and Dolores is appointed as Santa Fe's wife.