The Romance of Magno Rubio is set in the central valleys of California in the 1930s. Magno, a diminutive Filipino migrant worker, longs for love. Each night before going to bed, he peruses his collection of Hollywood magazines, dreaming of his own Silver Screen romance. One night, he finds a lonely-hearts ad for Clarabelle, a woman from Arkansas who is looking for a pen pal. Believing he's found the answer to his dreams, he hires a co-worker to write to his blonde beauty.
Working dawn 'til dusk, picking asparagus by the pound so he can buy love by the word, Magno's infatuation with Clarabelle grows with each letter received. He proposes marriage and wires money for hi fantasy girl to come to California so they can start their new life together. But as Magno soon realizes, reality and dreams don't always align.