September Dawn

Release Date: August 24, 2007
Limited release

Movie of the Day for Thursday, June 7, 2007
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194/214 Max Braden The dvd extras show how deliberate the filmmakers were in indicting the Mormans, but it's interesting movies like The Scarlett Letter aren't criticized as harshly for the culture at the time.

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Mountain Meadows was considered to be one of the most wondrous views in the western United States. This picturesque setting was undone over a period of a few days as a conflict occurred between Arkansas natives on a western trek and Mormon Nauvoo Legion members. In previous weeks, the Mormon militia led by religious icon Brigham Young had declared martial law due to anticipated upcoming conflict with the United States government. Tensions were also heightened by the fact that Parley P. Pratt, a popular Mormon leader, had recently been murdered in Arkansas. So, when a group of visitors from that region stopped at Mountain Meadows on their way to California, their reception was best described as frosty.

The conflict started when the Legionnaires refused to sell food to the hungry travelers. This group, the Fancher Party, enjoyed the idyllic setting of the mountains due to the spring water there as well as the solid hunting options. Soon afterward, they scuffled a bit with local Indians in the area. Finally, a group of Mormon militia members participated in attacks on the wagons, forcing the would-be California settlers to create temporary fortifications against the onslaught.

Eventually, Mormon soldiers waving a white flag were allowed to enter the encampment in anticipation of negotiating a truce. On September 11th, the leader of the group, John D. Lee, promised the safe passage of the Fancher Party as long as they split into three smaller, more manageable groups. After doing so, the smaller parties were led down the path for a time before hearing the final words from Lee, "Do your duty." At this point, the soldiers turned and slaughtered the entirety of the Fancher Party, a total of between 100 and 150 victims.

September Dawn recounts one of the worst atrocities of the settlement of the American West. The inflammatory rhetoric surrounding the project claims that it will expose one of the darkest secrets of a Mormon religious icon, Brigham Young. In reality, what the movie seeks to do is offer a historically accurate account of what happened all the time during the western phase of Manifest Destiny.

Terence Stamp, Dean Cain, Jon Voight, and Lolita Davidovich star in this latest offering from writer/director Christopher Cain, best known for his work on Young Guns…and The Next Karate Kid, I guess. (David Mumpower/BOP)

Vital statistics for September Dawn
Main Cast Jon Voight, Trent Ford, Tamara Hope
Supporting Cast Jon Gries, Taylor Handley, Huntley Ritter, Krisinda Cain, Shaun Johnston, Lolita Davidovich, Dean Cain, Terence Stamp
Director Christopher Cain
Screenwriter Carole Whang Schutter, Christopher Cain
Distributor Black Diamond Pictures
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating R
Screen Count 857
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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