|View single post by CleburneFan|
|Posted: Wed Aug 29th, 2007 01:37 am||
|Hubby and I saw "September Dawn" today. There were five people there to see it in a theater with three hundred seats, but we all managed to be in the same couple of rows.
I love movies about history, but I HATE movies about historical events that superimpose a sappy love story, even a tragic love story such as this one on top of the event. I was on alert at the very start because the movie opened with the words on the screen "Inspired By Actual Events". That right there sets up notice that not all events will be exactly as they happened.
To set up the story, let me explain that a group of "Merikat" emigrants were in a wagon train which included cattle and fine Kentucky race horses. The wagon train was headed to California, but the group needed to rest from the strenuous trip and allow the cattle and horses to graze in what happened to be in Utah territory controlled by Mormons. Their leader at this area was a hard bitten bishop (Jon Voight.) Some of his group do not want to allow the Merikats to pause for any time, but the bishop grants them two weeks.
This is how a love affair develops between one of the Mormons and the preacer's daughter in the Merikats' group. Whether this part of the film ever really happended one can only guess because the movie does not give any hint as to what is embroidered and what is known to be fact.
President James Buchanan, fed up with Mormon occupation of Utah which he sees to be an act of rebellion, sends troops to root them out. The bishop and Brigham Young decide to kick back--hard. They believe the Merikats are part of Buchanan's plan, so they decide that the Lord has told them to kill the sinners and by doing so they will actaully be allowing these "gentiles" as they call the wagon train folk, to go to heaven and be freed of their sins.
The Bishop sends John E. Lee, an adopted son of Brigham Young (Young is played by Terrence Stamp), to go to the neighboring Paiute Indians and promise them the spoils if they will shoot up the Merikats. They agree, attack the wagon train, but many die when the Merikats shoot back. They feel betrayed because Lee has promised them the Lord will protect them from death.
Undaunted the Bishop calls upon his men to continue the massacre, saying it is really a good thing to do because it will free the sinners to go to heaven. Those who object to the plan are threatened for questioning the word of God who ordered the slaugther.
THe Bishop's men, some dressed as Indians, carry out the heinous act, killing every man, woman and child except for 16 infants, they then raised. Many of the victims were not shot to death. Numerous victims had their throats cut, including young children. Needless to say, this part of the movie, filmed in slow motion was very difficult to watch. In fact, the whole movie was hard to watch because we know what is coming.
At the movie's end, a statement is shown that the Mormons do not believe Brigham Young had any knowledge before hand of this plan, did not order it and knew anything about it until well after the fact. The viewer is left to figure out whether the movie shows Young did in fact know and was protected in an artful cover up or if he really was incapable of committing such a criminal act.
This isn't a movie I want to see again, primarily because of the love story which I find hard to imagine. Still, if there isn't some humanizing element to the story, it will seem too much like a History Channel documentary. In fact, I think this event would be a good History Channel documentary and that would be preferable.
As we left the theater one of the people there got up and loudly announced that this movie would "ruin Mitt Romney". I strongly disagree. There won't be enough people who see the movie to make a bit of difference in Romney's campaign.