The year is 1834, and the Delgado family owns a ranch in California, where Padre Carlos Ramon has come to visit from Mexico. Now California is under Mexican control, but it was once the property of Spain. The padre remembers those times and shares stories of early Californian mission life with the family's children, Rosalinda and Simon.The children's journal and diary entries tell of their fascination with this past world. From the padre, they learn about the mission's interactions with the native Indians and hear stories of pirate invasions. Meanwhile, their present day is filled with rancho experiences such as harvest festivals and welcoming foreign visitors, along with changes associated with California preparing to become part of the United States.Gare Thompson uses rich factual detail and an entertaining fictional story to weave a vivid image of life on the missions and ranchos of early California. Like the others in the I Am American series, When the Mission Padre Came to the Rancho is illustrated with period drawings. Also included is a glossary.