What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie revolves around a very controversial -- and extremely brutal -- massacre that took place in 1857. The film presents most of its Mormon characters as righteous, bloodlust-driven zealots who planned and ultimately carried out the attack, which left an entire wagon train dead. The slow-motion scenes of the event itself are explicit and bloody, featuring images of young children and women being shot, chopped at with hatchets, and hit by arrows. One religious ritual scene shows a young woman nude from the front (she's covered by a gauzy curtain); another scene shows a girl with her shoulder bared as she's bathing in a river (which entrances her young man).
- Families can talk about how history is interpreted. How do different versions of a story shape belief systems and communities? Is it ever possible to know which is the "right" version of something that took place in the past? Families can also discuss how the various groups in the movie -- the Mormons, the Fancher party, the Paiute Indians -- are portrayed. How do you think the different groups would react to the movie? How could you find out more about the events depicted here? (One option is the PBS program The Mormons, which offers other views of the Mormon War.)