The legendary masked swordsman Zorro dodges a variety of deathtraps, including exploding barns, runaway elevators and avalanches, in his effort to thwart the insidious plan of armored bad guy Don Del Oro to rule Mexico. Written by
Marty McKee <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This is the only serial in which Zorro's character has been presented authentically; often said to be a prequel to Zorro Rides Again (1937) because the main character of that serial was the original Zorro's descendant, it is, in fact, a completely original story featuring the actual Zorro character. See more »
As serials go "Zorro's Fighting Legion" is one of the best action serials of the 1930s. Made in a period when the studios could still field a large cast, this one has wall to wall action throughout its 12 chapters.
In 1824 the President of the newly formed Republic of Mexico Benito Juarez (Carleton Young) is trying to put his new country on a solid financial footing. To that end, he has arranged to have rich gold shipments forwarded to the capitol from the local San Mendolita mine.
Members of the local council plot to steal the shipments on behalf of Don-del-Oro a gold armored god, who with the aid of the local Yaqui tribe, hopes to install himself as the ruler of Mexico. Opposing him is Don Francisco (Guy D'Ennery) who forms a legion of locals to aid Juarez. When Don Franciso is murdered by Don-del-Oro's men, a stranger, the fopish Don Diego (Reed Hadley) arrives in town. Diego aka Zorro takes over the legion with the help of his friends Ramon (William Corson) and Juan (Budd Buster). The token heroine of the piece is Ramon's sister Volita (Sheila D'Arcy).
Both Diego and Ramon hold seats on the local ruling Counsil. It soon becomes apparent that some of the other members of the Council are in league with Don-del-Oro. First there is the Chairman of the Council (Leander de Cordova), the head of the militia Manuel (John Merton), Chief Justice Pablo (C. Montague Shaw) and Gonzolez (Edmund Cobb). Zorro suspects that one of these men is Don-del-Oro, but which one?
What follows are several hair raising escapes by Zorro and his confederates from the followers of Don-del-Oro. We have the ever present collapsing rope bridge, the deep chasm between two cliffs over which only Zorro can jump to safety, and the usual assortment of explosions, fires and coaches and wagons crashing or going over the cliff. Hats off here to Republic's fine team of stunt men lead by the legendary Yakima Canutt and the Yrigoyens, Bill and Joe. Canutt performs his signature stunt jumping on a team of runaway horses and then falling beneath the coach which he repeated in other films including John Ford's "Stagecoach" the same year.
Anyway, Zorro finally unmasks the false god Don-del-Oro and restores peace to the valley before riding off into the sunset in Chapter 12.
Others in the cast include Jim Pierce, Curley Dresden and Charlie King as Don-del-Oro's hence men and if you look closely you may spot bits by future serial star and Lone Ranger Clayton Moore and stuntman Canutt in bits. "Big" Jim Pierce by the way, may be best remembered for playing Tarzan in 1927's "Tarzan and the Golden Liom" (1927) and for his marriage to Joan Burroughs the daughter of Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs.
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