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September Dawn

  R Closed Captioning

Christopher Cain

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Plot Summary

Academy Award® winner Jon Voight, Terence Stamp and Trent Ford star in this film based on the true story of the Mountain Meadows Massacre - the brutal murder of 120 men, women and children on September 11, 1857 as their wagon train passed through Utah on its way to California. The question of whether the attack was carried out by local Paiute Indians or by a renegade sect of the Mormon church remains unresolved to this day. Set against the breathtaking beauty of the Utah mountains, September Dawn explores what might have happened when the ill-fated settlers stopped near Cedar City to rest before completing the last leg of their journey. Local Mormon Bishop Jacob Samuelson (Voight) is suspicious of the group, so he dispatches his oldest son Jonathan (Ford) to spy on them. Jonathan soon falls in love with an angelic member of the wagon train, the minister's daughter Emily (Tamara Hope), and is horrified when he discovers that his father thinks the settlers are enemies of the church and is planning an attack on them. While Jonathan makes plans to escape with Emily, his father sets in motion a chain of events, fueled by revenge and fanaticism, which culminates in a violent and tragic ambush.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 54
  • Fresh: 7
  • Rotten: 47
  • Average Rating: 3.4/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Rotten: The maudlin, grotesque western September Dawn apes Schindler's List in hopes of creatinga Christian Holocaust picture. – Matt Zoller Seitz, New York Times, Jul 16, 2008

Rotten: A plodding and highly questionable history lesson. – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly, Jul 7, 2010

Rotten: This handsome indie Western damningly recounts the 1857 slayings of 120 settlers passing through Utah, but the didactic presentation, grim speechifying and tacked-on love story all signify a less-than-healthy regard for the audience's intelligence. – Justin Chang, Variety, Jul 7, 2010

Rotten: The workmanlike craftsmanship of Cain's filmmaking almost (but never quite) smooths over the ham-fisted way he conceives the story. – Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times, Sep 20, 2007

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews


this movie is really fake. i studied the mountain meadows massacre, and this movie has no truth to it hardly. hollywood is just out to make their own version. they need to go back and do their research again, and maybe this put the truth in the script.

Out from under the rug.

Great movie. Well acted. Hard hitting and showed light on  a long hidded truth. A must see for anyone interested in the dark side of human nature.

An unexpected great film

I had very little knowledge of the subject matter of this practically unknown movie when I went to see it, but got enough of a hint from the synopsis to desire to see it. I was absolutely riveted to my seat throughout, all the elements of a tragic love story and life and death conflict are there, and then to see that it was based on fact? Wow! I highly recommend this movie. It made a very strong impression on me to the point that I will never forget it.

September Dawn
View In iTunes
  • $12.99
  • Genre: Romance
  • Released: 2008

Customer Ratings

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