This is one of the better movie serials, and clearly the best Zorro serial, and it remains very true to the character as
protrayed in the written works of Johnston McCulley: works with a group of allied caballeros, plays the fop as Diego,
carves a Z on a bandit, swings from a chandelier, jumps across a ravine on horseback, and so on. Noticeably missing,
though, is his black horse, Tornado, and all of his normal companions. But, as this is a Zorro adventure set in Mexico,
and not California, that is to be expected.
The timeframe in the various Zorro adaptions over the years play loosely with historical dates. This serial is set in 1824.
Since California won it's independence from Spain in 1821, and was ruled next—-and harshly so—-by Mexico, it makes
sense that Don Diega would come to Mexico hoping to aid the new, democratic government there. The Mexican president
at that time, however, would have been Guadalupe Victoria, not Benito Juárez as the serial suggests. (I didn't know until
I looked it up, but the writers should have known better.) Even so, that doesn't do too much harm here as Juárez's
primary role in this is to frame the first and last episode. To make this fit in with other Zorro adventures, Zorro would have
been about 42 here, but the actor Reed Hadley was 28.
The storyline is quite good: greedy men wish to gain control of a politically-unstable Mexico and to exploit its people and
wealth. Disguising one of their members as Don del Oro and playing upon the superstitions of the local Indian tribes is
handled as you might expect of Hollywood in the 1930s, but it helps to give the evil council a credible source of muscle
in the larger battle scenes against Zorro's Fighting Legion. Most of the serial, though, focuses upon a smaller group of
bandits and Zorro and a few of his most trusted allies. The Don del Oro disguise is very good: a golden set of platemail
armor and a large idol headdress. In one scene, it looks like the armor helps save Don del Oro from a gun shot.