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To almost everyone's surprise, the socialists win the election. The majority of the people are overjoyed. The Conservatives, led by Esteban, quickly overcome their shock and mount a multi-pronged campaign to discredit and ruin the new government. They remove all of their money from the country and stop production and transportation of all basic goods. The socialists and the people of the country are perturbed but not dissuaded. Esteban prepares for a military coup. With the election of the socialists, Pedro Tercero is brought, almost against his will, into an important government position.

Blanca and Pedro Tercero continue to see each other. Although their age and increased responsibilities have removed much of their ardor, they still love each other very much. Pedro Tercero again demands that Blanca marry him or never see him again. Blanca brushes him off, not realizing that he is serious. She is very upset when she realizes that Pedro Tercero plans to follow through with his threat, but she tells no one.

The entire country is thrown into disarray by the economic meltdown caused by the conservatives. Blanca, like everyone else in the country, finds alternative ways to make ends meet, storing and carefully rationing what she is able to buy on the black market. Alba surreptitiously steals form her mother's food stocks and distributes it to the poor. She and Jaime, who has moved back into the house, also steal weapons from Esteban's arms stockpile, which they hide in the mountains.

Jaime and Amanda maintain a relationship which Jaime no longer desires. Jaime discovers a disturbing desire for Alba, on which he does not act. Amanda and Alba help Jaime out at the clinic, which is desperately understaffed.

The upheaval in the country and Esteban's prolonged absence set the stage for the peasants at Tres Marias to take over the estate. When Esteban finds out, he takes a gun and goes to Tres Marias himself. The peasants take Esteban hostage, and even the national guard is unable to free him. Blanca takes it upon herself to bring Alba with her to Pedro Tercero's office and demand that he free Esteban, in the process informing Alba that Pedro Tercero is her father. Pedro Tercero agrees. Blanca, Alba, and Pedro Tercero travel to Tres Marias together. Because the peasants recognize him as both a revolutionary and a native of Tres Marias, the peasants allow Pedro Tercero to free Esteban Trueba. Although he insults Pedro Tercero, Esteban accepts his help, humbled.

Back in the city, Esteban is visited by Luisa Mora, the last of the three Mora sisters. Luisa informs Esteban that there will soon be terrible bloodshed, that Esteban will be on the side of the victors but that he will win nothing, and that Alba will be in danger and should leave the country. Esteban Trueba is glad to see Luisa because she reminds him of Clara, but he does not heed her advice.