Bárbara is an attractive woman raised mostly on the rivers of Venezuela by her riverboat captain father. Her mother was an Indian woman who died while giving birth to her. She was madly in love with young Asdrúbal until tragedy smashed everything. Some of the men who worked for her father steal their boat and kill her father. The bandits then rape her and shoot her boyfriend. This causes her to hate men, but at the same time sleep with them to get what she wants. She becomes involved with Lorenzo Barquero, the owner of a cattle ranch, with whom she becomes pregnant and has a daughter named Marisela. Barbara later steals Lorenzo's home and fortune and kicks both him and their daughter out, leaving them to fend for themselves with absolutely nothing. Santos is the only remaining son of the Luzardo family, who had a feud with the Barqueros. He returns to his hacienda, Altamira, planning to sell it. Undeterred, Santos sets out to save his cousin Lorenzo and to educate young Marisela. After Barbara sees one of her old rapists and kills him she decides that in order to gain back the peace and happiness that was stolen from her that horrible night she must find and kill all 5 of her rapists. When she meets Santos she instantly falls in love with him seeing as he reminds her of her first love Asdrubal. In him she thinks she can find happiness and that he can help her change and become a different person. Santos is very attracted to Barbara and genuinely cares for her and wants to help save her from herself, they go through a long, drama filled romance in which he is never sure he should be with her because of all the horrible things he hears of her and it is only until she is raped a second time and almost killed by "Chepo", one of the same men that raped her as a girl, that he admits he is in love with her. When Chepo dies in front of Barbara from a heart attack she is furious and sad at the same time because after he rapes her a second time she wasn't able to kill him, she then destroys her prayer room and says she can manage on her own, this action makes her rebullones (imaginary birds that sometimes symbolise her mood) die. Santos and Barbara were living happily at her ranch for some period. Her happiness with Santos doesn't last as one day he realizes he loves Marisela and when he reads Mr. Danger's diary (one of Barbara's accomplices) in which he finds out all of the things Barbara has done he decides he can't be with her any more and that no matter what he has done she can't be saved.