Romance and intrigue in Mexico: love of a beautiful woman, and the smuggling of Pre-Columbian artifacts.
Gary, a drop-out from UC Berkeley, flees with his pregnant girl friend, Claudia, to Mexico to escape the political turmoil and riots--and, most importantly, to avoid being drafted and sent to Viet Nam.
Now a fugitive, he loses Claudia, who has an abortion, and returns to the United States. In order to survive, he becomes involved in the smuggling of Pre-Columbian artifacts. Eventually he meets Pam, a beautiful blond from Beverly Hills, who further involves him in the smuggling of cocaine.
Finally, Gary is arrested. Though he escapes going to jail, he has lost everything: Claudia, Pam, and his money. All he has left is his desire to live, and the need to understand himself and the circumstances of his life.
Fear! Pursued by fear as though he were being watched constantly, his paranoia causing him to believe he attracted attention as an American traveling alone. He was even afraid to leave the boxes unattended in the back of the truck if he stopped at a motel. But he was also afraid of the questions that might be asked if he was seen unloading the big cartons from the truck and putting them into his room. That was why he had avoided motels.
He scratched the toe of his boot in the dry, pebble-strewn desert sand. His shoulders still ached from three days of steady driving. He felt dejected and listless as he said aloud, "This is a hell of a way to make a living."