In 1926, musician Tom Hickey reads in a broadside about a lynching that the Los Angeles newspapers failed to report and discovers that the Negro victim was an old friend. When his neighbor, an LAPD detective, confirms that, officially, the lynching didn’t occur, Hickey decides to investigate the murder, earning himself beatings, gunfire meant to dissuade him, and warnings from a Klansman that he’s made some formidable enemies.
Clifford Hickey is scheduled to perform at the festival in what might be his last guitar gig before heading off to law school to please his father. He arrives at the peaceful woodland campsite of his brother Alvaro, but within moments six armed men in badges crash the camp, and Alvaro runs. Clifford is arrested and roughly handcuffed. One of the sheriffs’ nephews has been murdered, and Alvaro is the posse’s quarry. When Clifford’s father and mother arrive on the scene, it’s the beginning of a confrontation between the Hickey family and the locals, including the Cossacks, who seemingly have their own agenda for Alvaro.
In the weeks before the 1979 Mexican elections, San Diego PI Alvaro Hickey is checking the stories that Baja California campesinos are spreading about visits from the Holy Virgin - an apparition with definite political preferences. Though Alvaro doubts that this visitor is divine, he's firmly on her side. Then, Lourdes Shuler asks him to unite her with her sister, Lupe, whom she claims is the campesinos' Virgin.