Online Edition



Season 1, episode 09
Series 109
1st release: 01/08/01
2nd release: 3/05/01
Production number: 110
Approximate shooting dates:
Last update: 05-14-01

SYNOPSIS by James Ott

Tessie Santiago (Tessa Alvardo)
Valentine Pelka (Col. Luis Montoya)
Anthony Lemke (Capt. Marcus Grisham)
Paulina Galvez (Marta)
Peter Wingfield (Dr. Robert Helm)
Tacho Gonzalez (Don Hidalgo)
Elsa Pataky (Senora Vera Hidalgo)

Elizabeth Gracen ( Carlotta)
Richard Clifford (Viceroy)
Steve Emerson (Padre Quintera)
Irene Gonzales (Pira)

Written by Gillian Horvath
Directed by Peter Ellis

Filmed in Almeria, Spain, by Fireworks/Morena Films/Amy Intl. Prods. in association with Telefonica, and M6, distributed by Paramount Domestic TV in association with Mercury Entertainment. Executive producers, Jay Firestone, Adam Haight, David Abramowitz; producer, Ken Gord; director, Jon Cassar; writer, James Thorpe; director of photography, Alwyn Kumst C.S.C; production designer, Fernando Gonzalez; music, Philip Stanger; wardrobe designer, Evelyne Correard Trompier; supervising editor, T.C. Martin; ``Behind the Mask'' theme song performed by Jose Feliciano; special effects, Carlos Fernandez, Tomas Urban; art director, Carlos Suarez Bodelon; set decorator, Marta Agullo Laguna. Season one filmed between May 3 - December 2000.


An imposter (guest star Elizabeth Gracen) poses as the Queen of Swords to steal a payroll of gold so Tessa must clear her name and unmask the bandit. ClickTV

A woman, dressed in black and wielding a sword, robs the payroll gold; news of the Queen of Swords' treachery and betrayal quickly spreads. ExciteTv


A woman dressed in black wielding a sword robs the payroll gold, and news of the Queen of Swords' treachery and betrayal quickly spreads. Montoya captures the culprit, Carlota (played by special guest star Elizabeth Gracen), keeping her real identity a secret and pocketing the gold. This time, instead of saving lives, the Queen must expose the imposter to save her own good name.


This synopsis is by James Ott.


While on a hunting trip, Montoya and Grisham hear shots and then an explosion in the distance. The Stagecoach from Monterrey is being robbed by a masked woman who shoots an accompanying rider and triggers an explosion to halt the Stage's progress. It's the Queen of Swords to everyone, but she's a clever look-alike imposter. Vera Hidalgo is one of the passengers and after praising the Queen for what she's done for the Poor, the masked rider rips the gold necklace she's wearing and retreats as riders approach saying "Charity is overrated." During her escape a rattlesnake spooks her horse and up ends her off the saddle. She draws two pistols and shoots two of the guardsmen but is captured by Montoya and Grisham.


"Hang her or shoot her?" barks Grisham, who is pointing a loaded pistol to the captured Queen. The Governor removes the woman's mask and tells him to save his powder. Montoya examines the mask and although her garb is quite similar to the Queen of Swords, the cheap material used for her mask betrays her as a phony.

Vera flags down Tessa in the Town Square eagerly telling the story of her being victimized by the Queen of Swords. After the initial shock of the news, Marta and Tessa go to the crime scene and see small, female boot prints indicating that someone must have masqueraded as the Queen to commit a robbery. They also find her discarded mask in some nearby brush.

The Viceroy is expected momentarily from Spain. The Colonel hopes that his coming there will result in the doubling of soldiers and guns for his garrison to combat the masked scourge of the area. The Padre approaches him reminding him that he has not yet contributed to the new Parish School fund while other less fortunate in the Village have already donated to the Cause. Montoya replies, "I've always admired the Church's ability to wring pennies from the penniless." The Viceroy arrives by carriage, resplendent in brushed velour and gold buttons fitting a fine gentleman of the King's Court. Montoya speaks to him of the Queen of Sword saying no one is safe with her around.

Just as she was about to escape, an untimely visit to her hotel room by Montoya stops the attempt of the fake Queen. He has a little talk with his captive and they end up in kissing. Afterwards, he convinces her to dress up again as the Queen and rob the school fund from the Church. At nightfall, the real Queen of Swords is scavenging around Montoya's hidden safe depository looking for the stolen payroll gold coins from the stagecoach heist.

Finding nothing, she spies the other Queen (Carlotta) heading into the Church. After knocking out the Padre and gathering the small bag of coins she hears, "That'll cost you a dozen Hail Mary's" and turns to face the real Queen. Drawing a pistol on her which is quickly kicked out of her grip, the two swordfight and the Queen ends up fighting her hanging on to the Church bell rope which rings an alert to the guards.


The following day, the Queen is portrayed as a greedy little thief who would rob even the Church. The local peasants have turned on their hero. Meanwhile, the Viceroy is told of the Church robbery and the need for more men and supplies to hunt this demon down. The Viceroy proclaims that it's not a question of leadership indicating that Montoya must be the wrong man for the governorship of the territory.

Tessa goes to Grisham's room and searches for the stolen gold. Eventually she discovers it folded in the covers of his bed. First Grisham, then Montoya show up in the room but don't discover a concealed Tess behind the curtains and depart, revealing in conversation Montoya's new plan to capture and kill the false Queen in order to impress the Viceroy.

Enjoying a late evening dinner with Montoya, Carlotta is dressed in finery and wearing expensive jewelry. The Colonel offers a toast, "To my precious orchid.", after presenting her with a bouquet of the same. Carlotta inquires, "Orchids? Aren't they for Funerals?" After they discuss her next appearance masquerading as the Queen, Montoya says that she can keep the dress and jewels she's been given and they share an interlude together.

Montoya sends Carlotta to rob the estate of a Don who is out of town, but it is a trap to kill her during a robbery attempt. The real Queen shows up to convince her of the set-up and after running from the guards volley of bullets, they escape dramatically by stampeding the horses from the barn and riding Indian style to avoid being shot.


The Viceroy explains to the current Governor who meets with him in the drawing room that he has decided to request to the King of Spain to replace the current leadership in the area. A recalcitrant Montoya brings a question forward as to how a humble servant of the Crown can afford such fine suits adorned with gold buttons. To buy influence, he turns over the stolen payroll gold to the Viceroy discreetly. A sudden change of mind results in an accommodation that he has re-evaluated his previous leadership concerns and will consider a possible promotion.

When Montoya returns to his home, the enraged Queen of "Sorts" holds him at sword point demanding the stolen gold. He confesses that he gave it to the Viceroy so she locks him in the caged treasury room near his office to keep him from alerting the guards. Carlotta then enters the stateroom of the Viceroy and robs him of the gold he had been bribed with previously. When he grabs for his pistol, she shoots the official and makes a hasty retreat.

The real Queen of Swords watches from afar as the above occurs and pursues her double as she leaves town.


Grisham, looking for the Colonel, overhears his cries for release from the treasury room and breaks the lock to free him. The Captain remarks that she must be half way to San Diego by now ( Carlotta alluded to the need for money to return there previously). The much wiser Colonel believes her to be headed eastward toward the Badlands. Grisham concludes that she'll have to make a water stop at Agua Pocito to the surprised Colonel who commends his logic for a change. They proceed to the area to intercept Carlotta with their men.

The two Queens face off with Tess requesting the return of the peoples gold. "Carlotta responds, "It's always about the gold." The two duel with banter back and forth: Carlotta: Why do you fight the powers that be; you're just one woman against the world? Queen: "Gotta start somewhere!" Carlotta: You're almost as good as I am (with the sword)!" Queen: Don't flatter yourself."

After a rough and tumble swordfight, the two roll down an embankment and Carlotta throws sand into the Queen's eyes to stop her swordplay as she concedes she no match in a fair fight. Carlotta mounts her horse and the Queen again requests the return of the gold. The false Queen relents, "It's always about the gold." And tosses the stolen Church money and Payroll to the somewhat surprised Queen. "Keep up the fight.", she adds when she is suddenly shot in the back by Grisham's pistol and the horse drags her fallen body down the trail. The Queen of Swords rides off with the soldiers in hot pursuit. Montoya runs to the dying Carlotta saying he is sorry about what happened but asks her where his gold is. "I gave it to the Queen of Swords. (Pause) Colonel, I'll see you in Hell." And she dies.


Marta asks Tessa if she is lighting a candle in the Church for Carlotta. Tess tells her it's for all of us.

The Padre exclaims to the townspeople that the Queen has returned the School fund and the stolen Payroll. "The Queen is a miracle from God!" Upon returning the Payroll gold to Montoya, he uncharacteristically draws a few gold coins from the bag and donates them to the priest to the approval of the nearby Tess and the crowd.


Elizabeth Gracen's Official Web Site

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