An aristocrat in early California disguises himself as a masked swordsman to woo a lady and help the oppressed.
In Mexican California men talk of how Zorro protects the oppressed. Governor Alvarado (George Periolat) sends out troops to find him. Don Diego Vega (Douglas Fairbanks) has returned from Spain. Sergeant Pedro Gonzales (Noah Beery) says he plans to capture Zorro. A reward of 10,000 pesos is offered for Zorro, dead or alive. Gonzales attacks natives in order to find Zorro, who quickly appears masked. Zorro duels with Gonzales. Zorro is nimble and carves a Z in his pants.
Zorro tells Bernardo (Tote Du Crow) that he and caballeros could end the oppression. Zorro as Diego talks with his father, who wants him to marry. Diego visits Don Carlos Pulido (Charles Hill Mailes) and meets Lolita Pulido (Marguerite De La Motte). He invites her family to stay at his town house while he is away. Ten minutes later Zorro finds Lolita in the garden and woos her. A servant tells soldiers that Zorro is there. Captain Juan Ramon (Robert McKim) leads troops. He visits Lolita, who does not like him. Zorro comes back, throws Lolita a flower, and escapes.
The Pulidos visit Diego's well furnished house. Ramon intrudes on Lolita and refuses to leave. Zorro drops in and duels with Ramon. Zorro gets his sword and makes him apologize to Lolita. Ramon leaves, and Lolita kisses Zorro. Later Diego calls and says he is tired. Carlos Pulido says that Ramon insulted Lolita, and Diego says he will rebuke Ramon. The Pulidos leave.
Governor Alvarado arrives in the south with troops. Fray Felipe (Walt Whitman) is accused of swindling and is to get 15 lashes. Carlos Pulido stops the punishment, and Diego is told. He sends Bernardo to distribute a call to caballeros. Zorro has an officer lashed. Governor Alvarado orders Pulido arrested.
Diego tells his father that Lolita refused him. Caballeros come in looking for Zorro, and Diego's father offers them wine. Diego retires. Zorro comes in with a gun and appeals to the caballeros to help him bring justice for all.
The Pulidos are arrested for treason. Bernardo gives out notes for men to meet masked with black horses. Zorro and his men liberate the prisoners. They go to the home of Alberto. Zorro leaves a note to soldiers that he is in the village. They chase him, but he eludes them with acrobatics. Zorro rescues Lolita from her captor Ramon and takes her to Diego's house. Zorro tells her that he is Diego's friend. Diego appears in a robe and objects to soldiers intruding. Diego fights with Ramon and carves a Z on his forehead. Suddenly all realize that Diego is Zorro. He demands that Governor Alvarado abdicate. The soldiers support Diego, who embraces Lolita.
This action drama depicts a fantastic remedy for the
exploitation of the natives and the poor in old Mexico. Hidden
within the well educated and gentle Diego is the courageous and
skilled Zorro who fights for justice.