It is 1628. The Spanish Church has sent missionaries, accompanied by small military forces, to civilize the savages who populate the desert lands of what will one day be the American Southwest. The drive to save souls from the Devil is matched only by the greed of the military men.
Pious Fray Angelico is devastated when he learns that the Hopi believe neither in the Devil nor in Angelico's God and have no interest in salvation.
Captain Lopez de Leiva seeks gems, gold--any wealth that will enable him to buy back his family honor. He does not expect to find love in a savage's arms.
Morning Butterfly, a Hopi woman, longs for the days of innocence before the Spanish came. Now she is forced to translate cruel orders and strange prayers and feels that she is contributing to the destruction of her people.
Cougar, a Navajo brave, has never thought much of the pueblo-dwelling Hopi--but in their struggle against the Spanish he sees the fate that hangs over his own people.