Zorro - The Legend Through The Years

   Zorro Saves a Herd
   by Johnston McCulley

Don Diego Vega arrives at Don Miguel Sandoval's hacienda in a splendid carriage.  After Don Diego alights from the carriage, he strolls to the patio where he finds Don Miguel glaring at Carlos Lopez.  Don Diego overhears the men's conversation.  Don Miguel has refused to pay the governor's unfair taxes, so Lopez has confiscated Don Miguel's cattle and will take the cattle to be slaughtered for their hides.  Lopez will keep the money earned from the hides, and Don Miguel will still owe the taxes to the governor.  Don Diego makes his presence known and greets Lopez by remarking about a certain stench on the patio.  Lopez is enraged and remarks that he will not forget Don Diego's remark.  As Lopez leaves, Don Diego replies that as long as Lopez remembers the remark, he will remember the stench. Carlos Lopez screamed as the keen blade struck.
During dinner, Don Diego has Don Miguel tell him the exact location of the herd and is told that the cattle are in a certain canyon and are being guarded by Lopez and his men.  After Don Diego has the information he needs, he begs that Don Miguel speak of topics that are less disturbing.  Don Miguel's daughter Inez rebukes Don Diego, telling him that he is fortunate that his family has no fear of the governor.  Inez leaves the table, announcing that she hopes Zorro will ride to help her father.

Don Diego retires to his guest chamber and tells Bernardo of his plans.  Don Diego dresses as Zorro and rides to the hut of Don Miguel's head vaquero, Juan Castro.  Zorro tells Juan Castro his plan, and Castro and the other vaqueros ride with Zorro to the canyon.  Once they reach their destination, some of the men stay near the mouth of the canyon while Zorro and the remaining men go to the head of the canyon.  Zorro and his companions descend quietly into the canyon and light torches.  The men yell, wave their torches, and ride madly towards the herd, startling the herd into a stampede.  The herd stampedes towards Lopez and his camp.  Lopez and his men try to flee as the herd approaches the camp.  After the herd exits the canyon, the men who waited near the mouth of the canyon begin to yell so that the cattle are further spooked, scatter in all directions, and run up into the surrounding hills.

After the cattle are gone, Zorro confronts Lopez.  Lopez is angry that the cattle are gone and that most of his men were killed in the stampede.  Lopez tells Zorro that he will make certain that everyone knows that Zorro is reponsible for what happened.  Zorro replies that he will give Lopez proof to show everyone and cuts a 'Z' upon Lopez's forehead.

Zorro rides back to Don Miguel's hacienda.  Once there, Don Diego removes his Zorro disguise and sneaks back into the guest chamber.  After Don Diego hears Juan Castro arrive and begin telling Don Miguel about how they stampeded the cattle up into the hills, Don Diego emerges from his chamber.  Don Diego asks what all the tumult is about, and when he hears that it was Zorro, he begs to hear no more about it as tales of violence always upset him.

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