The emotional weight of the play rests on the shoulders of proud Roberto’s family. Against his wishes, Pilar has paid a coyote to get her across the border so she can live a normal married life with her husband Nardo, who has been gone for three years now, evaporated into the maw of low-paid immigrant-wage agribusiness. When we meet Roberto, he is waiting in a stretch of desert that he located on a map drawn by someone who believes he saw Pilar.
This happens to be the area Gary is patrolling, officiously geared up like an overgrown Boy Scout with a spanking uniform, advanced communications systems, and weapons—gun, knife, pepper spray, and rope. He obviously enjoys pushing his limited authority around. While Roberto’s story as a former copper miner is patently pathetic, Gary’s isn’t much better. He’s a former steelworker now reduced to helping out in his wife’s Hallmark store. He recites what he deals with on a daily basis: greeting cards, ribbons, bows, wrapping paper. Quite a comedown from his former livelihood.