Travelling through Utah back in the day must have been the worst. If the elements didn’t get you, the Mormons would. If, you know, you happened to be traveling through the sage and snakes of Southern Utah territory in an Arkansas wagon train named “Fancher” in 1857.
Back in August, Devin wrote a piece about a film called September Dawn (read the article here), which focuses on the infamous Mountain Meadows Massacre. I’ve recently seen this film described as a “horror/thriller” in various places across the interwebs. While the elements are truly heartbreaking and horrific (think Last of the Mohicans as the French unleash their Huron allies to massacre the inhabitants of Fort William Henry after being told they were free to go), it’s a Western historical drama, so don’t get too excited horror fans.
Now word comes that the film is all wrapped up and has set a release date for “Spider-Man Day” (May 4), essentially assuring many, many folks will not see it. I, for one, am going to make it a point to see both. I’m really interested in seeing how director Christopher Cain plays both sides of the story out, if at all. I think it’s obvious the Mormons will be played for villains, as the project is intended to shed some light on current religious fanaticism. Still, the Mountain Meadows story has complex, if utterly misguided motives and is a sharply contested, nasty chapter of Mormon history few people know about.
September Dawn stars Jon Voight as a Mormon Bishop Jacob Samuelson (the Mormon equivalent of a pastor), with Dean Cain as Joseph Smith (flashback alert!) and Terence Stamp as Brigham Young. To be honest, I’m just glad September Dawn is finally proving the renegade Mormon and Piute groups were indeed conspiring with both General Zod and Superman.