In rural Valencia, a new family arrives to work the land and live in the farmhouse of a family who has lost both to a moneylender. Despite having nothing to do with the situation, the neighbours are hostile to the idea of others working the land that was once their own.
Raised as brothers on a ranch, two men, Pedro and Carlos, vie for the love of the same woman, Lupe. Pedro and Lupe marry, but her fickle behaviour ends in tragedy.
María and Magdalena are twin sisters; one is a millionaire while the other is poor. María, the poor sister, kills her twin, recently widowed, in order to take her place. But the murderess will find herself with her back to the wall when she has to prove that she’s innocent of her husband’s murder, committed by her own victim.
Antonio Ituarte, a rich industrialist, gives his wife the statue of naked woman as a wedding anniversary gift. The model who posed for the statue is Raquel, Antonio’s mistress. Raquel demands that Antonio divorce his wife, who dies shortly afterwards in mysterious circumstances. Antonio believes that he has poisoned his wife when in fact he had intended to kill his mistress.
One of the candidates running for town mayor is murdered. The suspicions of the public prosecutor’s office fall on Rosauro Castro, the local despot. Rosauro’s young son is accidentally killed in a shoot-out. Rosauro wants revenge, but is intercepted by the mayor, his partner in crime.
Karin, an astrologer and occultist, is in fact a trickster who takes advantage of his clients’ gullibility, basing his information on the gossip he receives from his mistress Clara, a beauty salon assistant. Clara tells Karin that a millionaire, Vittorio Romano, has died on discovering that his wife Ada had betrayed him with his nephew, León. Pretending to have been a close friend of the dead man, Karin turns up at the funeral where he succeeds in making Ada confess that she and León poisoned Vittorio to get their hands on his fortune. Karin and Ada plot to kill León.
Marcos Arizmendi is an arrogant Basque pelota player accustomed to spreading his charm liberally among women. But a run-in with a bookie’s wiles puts his life in danger.
Doctor Alberto Robles considers himself to be a failure for not having fulfilled the dreams he had as a student of medicine and having had to go back to work in his little hometown. There he reunites with his two friends, Father Juan and Roque Suazo, opponents of the local despot like himself. One night, a woman called Soledad begs the doctor to come and see her brother, who is running a fever. He saves the boy’s life. The woman falls in love with the doctor and decides to show him her gratitude by going to help him every day. Meeting Roque Suazo upsets Soledad’s existence and brings tragedy into everybody’s life.
Yolanda, a piano teacher, moves to the capital when the man she loves marries her sister by mistake. There she teaches in a kindergarten and moves in with the family of one of her pupils. The mother is in a wheelchair and asks for her help to raise her children. But the man who had married Yolanda’s sister sows doubts in the eldest child as to whether there is something more to the relationship between Yolanda and Manuel, his father.
Federico works for a Mexican company and is sent into the jungle to find the area that produces the tree from which cortisone is obtained. Lost in the jungle, Federico finally arrives to an inhabited spot beside a waterfall. He is met with hostility by Santos, an embittered man who has turned his back on the world. Santos severs the footbridge and Federico plummets into the river. Yáscara, Santos’ daughter, saves Federico and falls in love with him, but he's a married man. A group of men rescue Federico and Yáscara is left alone. Her father tells her that if he loves her, he’ll come back.
Jesús Bernal has five sons. All are miners, but two of them go to school and have a teacher with liberal ideas. The Bernal family discovers a vein and registers it in their name, only to have it seized by a French company. When there is an explosion, the mine owners refuse to rescue the trapped workers, prompting the brothers to rebel against the company.
During the Cristero War in Mexico (in the 1920s), Victoria is raped by a Catholic priest, turning her against religion, and above all, the clergy. This, coupled with other tragic family experiences, makes her a very hard woman. In spite of coming from a good family, she becomes the madam of a brothel. But one day she falls in love with Doctor Federico Lamadrid, whose attitude makes her question her former beliefs and prejudices, especially when she discovers that he too is a priest.
Jim, an American sailor, returns to Topolobampo to find his old friend Pepe and propose a scheme to fish deep-water shrimps. Years earlier, while Pepe was serving a short jail sentence for having beaten up a man, Jim had had an adventure with Magdalena, Pepe’s wife. The child Pepe believes to be his own is really Jim’s. A chance remark by another fisherman consumes Pepe with suspicion and jealousy, which has repercussions on the boy and on his family life. Meanwhile, Magdalena resumes her relationship with Jim.
Macario, a poor peasant and woodcutter, longs to be able to eat a whole guajolote (turkey) all by himself, but his family’s situation is dire. One day, his wife steals a bird and cooks it only for him. He goes into the forest to eat it and has three apparitions: the Devil, God and Death. Each asks him to share his turkey with them, but he only accepts to do it with Death. In return, Death gives him a bottle of a liquid that cures all ills. His sudden wealth draws the attention of the Inquisition and Death ends up coming back to claim him.
Luisa is a small-town girl who arrives in Mexico City to work in a cake shop run by Don Albino, a widower with two small children who soon realises the girl’s great talent for decorating cakes. Although Luisa is fond of Don Albino’s children, she rejects his advances because she is about to be married. But on the wedding day the groom doesn’t appear. Devastated, Luisa returns to the cake shop, where she pretends to be married and pregnant.
When poor town crier Dionisio Pinzón is given a dying golden cockerel, he nurses it back to health and christens it his ‘golden cockerel’. After defeating one of the cocks owned by the famous cockfighter Lorenzo Benavides, the latter insists on buying the golden cockerel and making Pinzón his associate. With the help of ‘La Caponera’, Benavides and Pinzón become partners. But the deal won’t last long, and they end up on opposite sides for one last cockfight.
In 1937, the Rosa Blanca ranch owner refuses to sell his property to an American oil company. To convince him, they invite him to the United States, where they make him disappear. A little later, using a false document, the company takes possession of the property, destroying it to create an oilfield and proceeding to exploit the ranch workers. At the end of the film, mention is made of the oil industry nationalisation declared by President Lázaro Cárdenas in 1938.
Don Quixote is obsessed with chivalry and its codes of honour. Accompanied by his peculiar squire Sancho Panza, he embarks on a series of adventures in which he is mocked and tricked by some while others try to help him recover his sanity. But neither Don Quixote nor Sancho give up trying to protect humanity.
An important businessman marries Mercedes, a middle-aged prostitute, but dies shortly afterwards from severe consumption. Attracted to two men, her young stepson and his painting teacher, Mercedes sets about trying to seduce them, only to discover that the two having an affair.