Plot: We start with an opening shot from above, with us looking upon two blacksmiths, who we're soon to learn are Salvio and his son Eugenio. The shot pans to some suspicious types on a balcony, who observe Diego and Bernardo riding to the cuartel, to turn in their taxes. Sergeant Garcia is looking forward to getting all the taxes collected and shipped to the governor in Monterey, and has even gone to the trouble of commissioning a special case to transport the money, the iron box named in the title, which was built by the aforementioned blacksmiths. The box weighs a thousand pounds and has a huge padlock, with only one key, which Garcia is sending on the governor by special messenger tonight, since all the taxes were collected so swiftly.
But all is not well between the father and son. Eugenio badly wishes to rush to the tavern and see his lady, an older woman called Moneta. Salvio doesn't trust her, and tries to warn his son, but you can guess how well that goes. It turns out the old man's instincts are good, because Moneta is in league with the sinister men from the balcony, and was getting close to Eugenio so as to get a look at that key. Too late now, though. Or is it? Diego had, in jest, told the sergeant he should make a big presentation and speech out of the departure of the iron box, and so, the next day, Garcia does. And while showing off the padlock, he closes it, before putting it on the box. Oops. Fortunately, Salvio and Eugenio are able to create a makeshift key, get the padlock opened and back on the box. And Bernardo cleverly grabs the key and melts and warps it over the fire before Moneta's guys can grab it. Strike two for the bad guys, so their next brilliant plan is simply to take advantage of Garcia's overconfidence. Because of how tough the box is, he only sent a couple of soldiers as escort, and the goons are able to kill them swiftly. The driver of the carriage then detaches the wagon holding the box so he can escape, and the box goes tumbling into a ravine.
So Moneta lures Egenio out there and tries to force him to open the box, since he's such a great blacksmith and all. Oh, but he isn't actually a great blacksmith, he was just talking a lot of hot air. But he might make an effective lever on Salvio. As it turns out, Bernardo, Diego, Garcia, and Salvio had been celebrating the successful departure of the box for most of the day, and so Bernardo happens to be nearby when one of the goons come to get Salvio, and he sees them ride off. Recognizing it as one of the men too interested in that key, he warns Diego, and so Zorro arrives, just in time. Salvio had been resisting, but once they threatened to hurt Eugenio, he had given in. But with Zorro there to even the odds, the two are quickly able to subdue the bad guys, and Eugenio is able to keep Moneta from sneaking away. Salvio seems sure he and Eugenio can not only keep the bad guys under control, but get that box out of the ravine, so Zorro takes off.
Quote of the Episode: Salvio - 'I am a blacksmith. I have been burned before.'
Times Zorro Marks a "Z": 1 (6 overall). He carved it on the fabric of the villains' wagon with a hot poker.
Other: I wonder who footed the bill for that box? Given how much trouble the soldiers have just getting their pay, it's hard for me to see the cuartel having that kind of dough laying around. Although maybe all the payroll problems where the result of having so many crooks running things in Los Angeles. With no Monastario, or any agents of the Eagle purposefully mucking things up, it could be things are actually running the way they're supposed to. and I can't help noticing the taxes were all collected ahead of schedule, without any need to resort to jailing people or beating them up. Good work by the sergeant there.
Let's make sure to remember the whole reason the bad guys nearly got their hands on a makeshift key was that Diego had to go and suggest to Sergeant Garcia he make a big show of putting the money safely in the box. I appreciate the desire for transparency with the public, but if he hadn't been playing to the crowd, I'm pretty sure the sergeant wouldn't have goofed.
I'm not at all sure how Salvio and Eugenio are going to get that box out of the ravine on their own. It's upside-down and weighs a thousand pounds. For that matter, shouldn't someone let the sergeant know? I figured that's what the wagon driver was up to. He knew he could outrun the bandits' horses lugging that box, so he cut it loose so he could get help. But the bandits have enough time to lure Eugenio, try to force him to open the box, realize he can't hack it, then go get his father and bring him back and torture him futilely. Still, no one else knows anything is wrong. Did that soldier just cut and run entirely?