José Guadalupe García is an orphan whose parents drowned when they attempted to swim across the Río Grande to get to the United States. José grows up in an orphanage in El Paso, Texas and is given a new name: Joe Garsha (English equivalent/pronunciation of José García). As an adult, he works in a pharmacy. Although he is exposed to American values and culture, he maintains certain Mexican traits. José tries to assimilate into American society. He speaks only English and has an American ("gringa") girlfriend. Despite his best efforts, he is the victim of discrimination. His girlfriend's brother and his friends beat him up just because he is Mexican and for daring to date an American girl. Feeling that he doesn't fit in, he crosses the border and goes to Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. However, even in Mexico, he encounters problems. He meets a young woman from Guadalajara, Jalisco. She rejects and ridicules him for acting like a "pocho" (an Americanized Mexican). The young woman's family members also beat him for courting her and for not being an authentic Mexican. The movie ends when José jumps into the Río Bravo, as the river between the two countries seems to be the only legitimate place for a Chicano (Mexican-American) because he is neither from here nor there...
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