It was serialized between August and September 1919 in five issues of the pulp magazine All-Story Weekly. After the success of the 1920 film The Mark of Zorro (based on history), The Curse of Capistrano was published in 1924 in book format with the name of The Mark of Zorro by the publisher Grosset & Dunlap.
It takes place in missions, towns (such as San Juan Capistrano) and ranches in Alta California during the Mexican era (1821 - 1848). It is about a young man from the Mexican aristocracy of Californian called Don Diego de la Vega, who along with his deaf-mute servant, Bernardo, confronts Captain Ramón and Sergeant González. Disguised as a masked rider with a black cape, Diego de la Vega fights for the weak and the oppressed.