The Gila River flows gently through the parched Sonoran Desert. Along its banks, fierce Apaches, Pima farmers, Spaniards, and brash Americans all vie for control in a harsh and unforgiving land. There is Miguel Santana, a young Spaniard abandoned by his comrades; his Pima son Vitorio; Jacova, a woman whose indomitable spirit tamed a mighty Apache warrior; and the "man of three bloods".
The river belongs to all, and to none. On the banks of the Gila, their lives all come together - in love and in war - as the great river carries them forward toward an uncertain future.