The experience of pain within specific cultural groups has not been well studied. The purpose of this ethnographic study was to discover Mexican–American meanings, expressions, and care associated with pain. Data were obtained from 20 key and 14 general informants and analyzed using thematic and pattern analysis. Themes identified included: pain as encompassing experience of suffering; the obligation to bear pain and to endure it stoically; and the primacy of caring for others. Based on study findings, a beginning description of the cultural context is provided from which pain as experienced by Mexican–Americans can be understood and from which culturally competent nursing care can be designed. ©1995 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.