Francisco Villa joined in common cause with Emiliano Zapata and with Venustiano Carranza in the struggle against Victoriano Huerta. Villa’s army, known especially for their indomitable cavalry won major battles. On 2 April 1914 they captured the city of Torreón, Coahuila, and on 23 June 1914 in a key, crucial battle, they captured the city of Zacatecas. On 15 July 1914, Victoriano Huerta resigned the presidency and left for exile.

With Huerta out of the way, Carranza and Villa soon split. The differences between them were ideological in part and in part a clash of personalities. Carranza’s ideology represented the views of the urban middle-class and to a considerable extent, the landowning class of which Carranza was a member. Carranza’s family solidly of the liberal tradition, and Carranza firmly believed in state and municipal sovereignty. He and his family had participated in various struggles against the Porfiriato to uphold the right of each zone to make its own decisions. He became interim state governor of Coahuila in 1908 and supported the Madero rebellion in 1910. Villa identified with the plight of the sharecroppers, the sector in which he was born and raised, as well as the cowboys of the free range who had been suppressed by the advent of the railroad, the fencing in of land, and the ownership and branding of livestock on that privatized land. From a personality point of view, Carranza, born in 1859 and 19 years older than Villa was stubborn, well educated and supremely well-connected among the liberals (his father had been a close collaborator of Benito Juárez) traditional patriarch, proud of his prerogatives as first chief. Villa, on the other hand was young, rootless, relentlessly energetic, indomitable, impassioned and dangerously temperamental, and an intuitive fighter who was prone to insubordination.

On 14 August 1914, the Constitutionalist army under the command of Álvaro Obregón entered and took over Mexico City, and soon after Venustiano Carranza assumed executive power in the capital as Chief of the Constitutionalist Army. About a month later, Villa repudiated Carranza and refused to attend a scheduled convention scheduled for 1 October in the capital. Similarly, negotiations between Zapata and Carranza for the former to honor the Carranza regime failed. Zapata and Villa instead had their own convention in Aguascalientes in October and November 1914 which passed a resolution to terminate Carranza as Primer Jefe. From Mexico City, Carranza rejected the Aguascalientes convention and battle was renewed. Carranza and his army abandoned Mexico City and the armies of Zapata occupied it. Soon after Villa’s army entered Mexico City and both Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa rode together into the city. It was in December 1914 that some of the most famous photographs of the Mexican Revolution were taken.