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In 1848, California is thought by many to be "El Dorado," the mythical land of overflowing riches. It is there that Mexican farmer Joaquin Murrieta lives. He is engaged to Juanita de la Cuesta, daughter of Ramon de la Cuesta, who owns the rancho on which he lives. When Captain Osborne, the governor's inspector, visits the spanish-speaking village, many of the residents distrust the Americano's motives. After an arrow is fired in Osborne's direction, narrowly missing him, Roman is angered by the deed and demands that the man who shot the arrow step forward. Joaquin bravely accepts the blame for the fired arrow when no one else will. As a result, Joaquin is banished from the village and forced to flee into the country. When gold is discovered at Sutter's Mill, the ensuing gold rush brings in many ruthless fortune hunters. One of the prospectors, Bill Warren, shoots a man named Tomas, who is immediately taken to Joaquin's mother for treatment. Following an attack on Joaquin by the white settlers, who want to force him off his land, Rosita is killed and Joaquin swears revenge upon the men who killed her. When Joaquin and his brother Jose kill one of the Americanos, a one thousand dollar reward is posted for Joaquin's capture. Meanwhile, Pete, an unscrupulous prospector, harasses Joaquin and falsely accuses Joaquin of riding a horse that belongs to him, and a fight ensues. Later, Joaquin kills Pete and tells his men to bear arms and join Three Fingered Jack's band of bandits. Joaquin's camp is set up at Hidden Valley, where a meeting is held to discuss the Americanos' take-over of California. In response to the Americanos' threat, Mexicans under Three Fingered Jack's leadership loot the Americanos and the rich Mexican "hacendados." Joaquin takes part in the raids, and during one such operation, is reuntied with Juanita, the hacienda señorita from de la Cuesta's rancho. Juanita, now a rich Mexican socialite, forgives Joaquin's banditry and joins him in fight against the plundering "gringos." When two Americanos are killed by Mexicans, a posse is organized to punish the Mexicans. Following a bungled stagecoach robbery by the bandits, in which the coach driver and a young bride-to-be are unintentionally murdered, Johnnie Warren, the young girl's fiancé, organizes a posse and goes to Hidden Valley to kill Joaquin. Meanwhile, at Joaquin's camp, Joaquin delivers an emotional speech in which he says that he can no longer be the bandits' leader in the wake of his complicity in the young girl's accidental death. Joaquin then bids the bandits farewell, but before he can flee to Mexico, the posse arrives and a shootout ensues. Three Fingered Jack is killed in the attack, and Joaquin, while attempting to escape, is shot and killed at Rosita's grave.