National Geographic Channel’s two-night movie event Saints & Strangers, premiering Nov. 22-23 at 9/8c, goes deep inside the familiar historical account of Thanksgiving, revealing the trials and tribulations of the first settlers at Plymouth and their complex relationship with the Native Americans. And the critics agree, “Saints & Strangers is beautifully produced with great authenticity that comes from great directing and great acting.” — Movie Guide
“Saints & Strangers” is the “Game of Thrones” version of the first Thanksgiving.
Saints & Strangers tells the story of the 101 men, women and children who sailed on a chartered ship for a place they had never seen. Of this group, half are those we think of as pilgrims, or saints, religious separatists who abandoned their prior lives for a single cause: religious freedom. The other half, the merchant adventurers–referred to as strangers–had less spiritual and more material, real-world objectives. This clash of values created complex inner-struggles for the group as they sought to establish a new colony, compounded by a complicated relationship with the local Native American tribes. (Watch related: Saints vs. Strangers) The conflicting allegiances among these groups, culminated in trials of assimilation, faith, and compromise that continue to define our nation to this day.
“The sets and costumes give a realistic idea of what the initial Pilgrim settlement was like, and the depictions of Native American cultures are thoughtful, detailed and considered. True to National Geographic’s roots in explanatory science, “Saints” takes seriously the clash of cultures, beliefs and technologies that went on to influence the founding of the nation.”
Saints & Strangers is a story of survival, perseverance, dedication and commitment that reverberates throughout America today. The cast tasked with telling this story for the ages includes “saints” Vincent Kartheiser, Anna Camp, Barry Sloane, Michael Jibson and Ron Livingston; “strangers” Ray Stevenson, Brian F. O’Byrne and Natascha McElhone; and Native Americans Raoul Trujillo, Tatanka Means and Kalani Queypo.
Shines… Poignant beauty… Cinematic… Engrossing…
—Wall Street Journal
Part One of the two-night event begins this Sunday, November 22 at 9/8c. Saints & Strangers begins at sea, with passengers weary from an endless voyage. The first night explores hardships faced by the passengers aboard the Mayflower and as they begin to build their settlement at Plymouth. With half of their population dead after the first winter, the settlers are concerned about their vulnerability to attacks by the area Native American tribes, who themselves are divided on how to deal with the English. One leader, Massasoit of the Pokanoket tribe, chooses diplomacy first, putting him at odds with some of his peers. With the aid of an English-speaking emissary, the Pokanoket make peace with the Pilgrims, putting them in a position of great power among the other tribes.
On the second night of the two-night movie event, Monday, November 23 at 9/8c, alliances are put to the test when a betrayal by the settlers leads to a broken agreement with the Pokanoket. Finding themselves again exposed, a new threat emerges for the Pilgrims as rumors spread that the natives are planning to attack the English. But after the Pilgrims help nurse an ailing Massasoit back to health, he warns them of the danger. The Pilgrims preemptively strike first and are victorious, and the Plymouth Colony’s renewed alliance with the Pokanoket would go on to last for more than 50 years.