This is an independent film about the connection made in the 1950's between Christian missionaries and the Waodani Tribe of the eastern rainforest of Ecuador. Sadly, the initial contact by five male missionaries results in their brutal deaths. The Waodani warriors were very suspicious of the "foreigners" and speared them to death.
The story is told through the recollection of the son (Steve) of one of the missionaries (Nate Saint) who was killed. Nate and the other men had guns with them but refrained from shooting at their Waodani attackers and merely used the guns to scare them. Nate explained to his young son, Steve, before he flew into the rainforest for the last time that "...we can't kill them because they are not ready for heaven and we are."
Director Jim Hanon does not spare any of the gory details of the deaths of these heroic men. These warriors had the fighting heart of a Mohican and the courage of a lion. And they settled all of their disputes by spearing; there were no negotiations or arbitrations. You crossed a Waodani; you got the sharp end of a spear which was a sign of strength to them. They were super violent and killed each other, too.
But the Waodani Tribe had a god and the wives of the slain missionaries and others continued the work to communicate love and forgiveness over the years and to carry the message to them that their God "...had a son."
The screenplay was taken "from a true story," but the genius was its skillful telling - writing credits by Bill Ewing, Bert Gravigan, and Hanon. Jim Hanon has made a classic which will slowly build into a huge audience. I was emotionally gripped and stunned throughout the movie. The passion and grace of both sides is memorable. The leader of the Waodoni Tribe ("Mincayani") was played by Louie Leonardo, originally from the Dominican Republic, who did a magnificent job of portraying the hate, anger, confusion, and ultimately softness of a great warrior. Don't let this wonderful film slip by you. Rock 'n Roll.