One of eight Mexican-American children born into poverty in the San Luis Valley, Dora Bernal follows her parents to the Boulder-Longmont area, where they work seasonally in the sugar-beet industry for Great Western Sugar. She marries a ne’er-do-well miner and has four children. After her husband divorces her, Dora heads for California with her youngest daughter, whom she mysteriously loses to him. An indefatigable worker, Dora remains in Berkeley for many years, cooking and cleaning in restaurants and hotels, in private homes and nursing homes. Her only pastime is attending “gringo” dances in Oakland, where she learns to enjoy American music. Eventually, she returns to Colorado and retires in low-income housing in Boulder.