Plot: We start with a fellow named Miguel, trying to rush back to his orchard with a wagon full of water barrels. He doesn't make it, as two vaqueros catch up to him, tip over his barrels, and threaten to kill him if he tries stealing water from Don Hilario again. Meanwhile, Diego tries to explain to Hilario why people aren't real happy with him hoarding the water from the spring on his land. Hilario's not concerned with other people's problems, he barely has enough water for his own cattle he says. At that point, Sergeant Garcia enters the tavern, and Hilario tells him to arrest Miguel for trying to steal water. When Garcia protests, Hilario gets huffy, and vows to kill Miguel if he comes on his property again.
Soon enough, Miguel is riding down the King's Highway with his wagon full of empty barrels, only to find his path barred by Hilario and his two vaqueros, all three armed with rifles. Miguel, alone with a single musket, has to surrender, and Hilario has his men start smashing the barrels, even though, as Miguel points out, there is no law against him riding his wagon on this public road. At that point, Garcia and his lancers ride up, and again, Garcia sort of stands up to Hilario, who rides off in another huff. Miguel is still, understandably none too happy (since he did just get assaulted and the perpetrator rode off). He isn't any happier that night, when his home burns down because he didn't have enough water to stop a fire when it started. And he isn't shy about pointing the finger of blame at Hilario. Which gets the huffy don's dander up again. Miguel enters the tavern, and refuses to back down from his statements. he also declines Diego's offer of money, though he admits he doesn't know what he'll do now. He seems to have lost hope.
Soon enough, Sergeant Garcia comes to visit Diego with bad news. Don Hilario's hacienda has burned down, and Miguel is suspected. Diego tries to plead with the magistrate, but learns they found Miguel's musket in the remains of the house, that there was money missing and Miguel (who was briefly captured by the lancers) had a sack of gold coins on him. Oh, and Don Hilario died in the fire. I guess that's pretty important. Diego takes his leave, and soon Zorro is on the prowl, quickly finding Miguel. Which is when we also learn it was Zorro who brought Miguel that money. Oops. Miguel points out he never got his musket back after he was stopped on the highway, and the two begin to suspect the vaqueros. Sure enough the two of them are loading up their horses with their stolen loot when Zorro bursts in. They're remarkably confident in their chances, though, and try to trap him in the loft. One goes up after him, the other stays below, tracking Zorro's movements by the sawdust drifting through the cracks. Miguel catches up just in time to turn the tide, and as the two murderers are defeated, rain returns to California.
Quote of the Episode: Don Hilario - 'You ask, "What are they going to do?" I don't know. Fortunately, that is not my problem.
Times Zorro Marks a "Z": 0 (9 overall).
Other: Even in the early 1800s, there wasn't enough water to go around in California. I'm trying to decide what's a less efficient use of the land, given the precipitation levels: cattle or oranges. Oranges need a lot of water, but cattle need a lot of grass, which requires less water than oranges. But then you factor in that cattle need water, too. Plus the energy loss of the cattle trying to convert the grass into meat on their bones. So probably cattle.
The place where Zorro and Miguel confronted the vaqueros is also the winery where Estevan tried hiding Tornado a few episodes ago. Also, Don Hilario is played by Neil Hamilton, who was Commissioner Gordon on the Adam West Batman show.
Don Hilario really liked the word "intimate". People were always intimating things about him.
I wasn't sure, when Hilario shot at Miguel on the King's Highway, what he was trying for. Was he trying to kill Miguel, and just a lousy shot? Or was he trying to wreck Miguel's barrels by shooting holes in them? The latter seems more likely, except that Hilario had already said he'd kill Miguel if he caught him taking water again.
I love that reveal that Zorro brought Miguel the money. When the magistrate showed Diego the sack of coins, Diego was visibly shaken, and the audience, having already seen Miguel reject Diego's offer of a loan, could draw the conclusion that Diego is starting to believe Miguel really did kill Hilario. Then we find out he was shaken because he realizes he inadvertently helped tighten the noose around Miguel's neck. Nice bit of work, there.
Credit to Sergeant Garcia for at least attempting to stand up to a wealthy landowner, rather than being his hired thug, basically.