Author: Ignacio Manuel Altamirano
First published: El Zarco: Episodios de la vida mexicana en 1861–1863, 1901 (English translation, 1957)
Locale: The province of Morelos, Mexico
Nicolas (nee-koh-LAHS), a Mexican blacksmith of Indian descent. Nicolas, who is infatuated by Manuela, realizes while he is imprisoned for accusing an officer of shirking his duties that Pilar is his true love. Released from jail, he joins Martín Sánchez and assists in El Zarco's capture. When the bandit is finally executed, Nicolas and Pilar pass by on the way to their wedding.
El Zarco (SAHR-koh), a bandit. Taking advantage of the troubled times during the War of Reform, El Zarco leads his cutthroats through the countryside, murdering and plundering. Flattered by her devotion, he takes Manuela as his bride.
Manuela (mah-NWEH-lah), Doña Antonia's impetuous daughter. In love with the bandit El Zarco, she refuses to believe the stories of his cruelty. After she runs away with him, she sees his sordid side, but she still remains true to him. When he is executed, she falls to the ground dead.
Martín Sánchez (mahr-TEEN SAHN-chehs), a rancher. Enraged by the death of his father and his son at the hands of El Zarco, Martín swears to track down the bandits. At Calavera, he captures El Zarco, but the outlaw is rescued. Undaunted, Martín again captures the bandits and executes them.
Pilar (pee-LAHR), Doña Antonia's godchild, in love with Nicolas.
El Tigre (TEE-gray), El Zarco's bestial lieutenant.
Doña Antonia (ahn-TOH-nyah), Manuela's mother.