The action occurs in early 12th century Galicia during the reign of Alfonso VII. Sancho de Roelas, a nobleman who has fallen on hard times, announces to his lord Tello de Neira his intention to marry Elvira de Olite, also of impoverished noble lineage. Don Tello offers to be best man at the wedding but on seeing Elvira falls in love with her beauty and kidnaps her. She refuses to have sex with him and Sancho travels to Leon to get Alfonso's help. Alfonso finally comes to Tello's manor-house incognito and – after revealing his identity and finding out that Tello has raped Elvira – forces him to marry Elvira. He then executes Tello, restoring Elvira's honour and endowing her with half Tello's estate.