The Critics Agree: Don’t Miss The Epic Two-Night Movie Event “Saints & Strangers”

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.

— AP

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.”

— Variety

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.

Saints & Strangers
They came in search of freedom to choose their own path. What will you choose? Play “Surviving Plymouth” now at

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.

Don’t miss the epic two-night movie event Saints & Strangers beginning this Sunday at 9/8c.



  1. Barbara Gold
    White Lake, MI
    November 22, 2015, 10:22 pm

    I was looking forward to watching this program. I have a problem with it., though. I have a 20″ tv and cannot read the translation of the native Americans. This is spoiling my enjoyment of the program. Too bad!

  2. Larry Erickson
    Carver, MA
    November 23, 2015, 3:31 pm

    I made it through the first two or three minutes of the first episode, by which time I could already cite I think now it was four significant historical errors. I lost interest at that point.

    I know people will be going “Oh yeah? What errors?” so here is a big one: the business about “the strangers” were “seeking riches” while “the saints” were seeking religious freedom (or, as they would have expressed it, liberty of conscience). Flat out false. William Bradford gives several reasons for the decision to leave Holland. Lack of ability to practice their religion is not among them. Indeed, the reasons are almost entirely social and economic.

  3. gary payne
    Elkview West Virginia
    November 23, 2015, 5:42 pm

    I am the great grandson of Stephen Hopkins. The child was not born at sea, but when they were anchored at the location of modern day Province Town. His name was Oceanus, not David, and dies at the age of 9. He was shipwrecked by a hurricane, and defied the British Admiralty to build a boat and sail on. Yes he was tried for treason, and did beat it. You have portrayed him as a “hot head” and a “dead beat”, and I am highly offended. Also, I , along with Barbara Bush am the grandchild of Francis Cook and wife, and with GHW Bush, Mercy Walker.

    Stephen Hopkins shipwreck also provided the basis for THE TEMPTEST, wherein he is Stephano, and according to Peter Ammundsen is the key to the TREASURE OF OAK ISLAND

  4. Phyllis Johnson
    United States
    November 23, 2015, 9:43 pm

    Same here! Wish I could have a copy of the text. My tv is 24″ but I still can’t read the translation unless I sit around 10 ‘ away in a dining chair for the 4 hours. It looks like it is a fantastic production otherwise! Thank you!

  5. B Bigbee
    Left Coast
    November 24, 2015, 2:25 am

    I don’t have a TV. However, I’d love to see this program. How can I see it? What are my choices?

  6. Syke
    Ashland, VA
    November 24, 2015, 10:56 am

    As a re-enactor who’s been doing 16th and 17th century for the past 30 years (and have sutlered it, too), of course I sit through show like this looking for stuff to nitpick. Yeah, the production is a bit whitebread on the English side making hem look a bit better than historical records have them being. and the supposed “first” Thanksgiving wasn’t the English deciding to throw a party and invite the nearby natives (for starters, the first thanksgiving was at Berkley Plantation in VA in 1619). However, this production is about as good as I can expect the entertainment industry to get, and definitely a lot better than I was hoping for. To nitpick the show is to go down to the level of the militia carrying their matchlocks “re-enactor style” with six inches of unlit match in the jaws of the cock. Slowmatch burns at an inch every five minutes, and if it isn’t lit your musket isn’t going to shoot. Period. We can get away with it in re-enactment due to safety consideration and the cost of the match – and we have lighters hidden in our ball bags, so we can light up just before taking the field (out of sight of the tourists) for the tactical.

    Definitely worth watching, especially having the school age crowd watch, because it’ll at least put them on the right path as to what really happened. And thank God there are no buckles in their hats.

  7. Chrys Bean
    Arizona USA
    November 24, 2015, 8:53 pm

    I want to command Nat Geo for this OUTSTANDING program! I also want to pay special tribute to Kalani Queypo for capturing the heart and soul, the very essence of the Squanto. Squanto was truly a man without a home and without his own people. He suffered his inner torment stoically, as portrayed by Kalani, yet the heart of this Native American who was so essential to the very lives of the early settlers just poured out through Kalani’s eyes and his every movement. BRAVO!

  8. Susan Klein
    Birmingham, AL
    November 30, 2015, 11:59 am

    I agree with the inaccurate portrayal of Stephen Hopkins. In addition, it was HIS wife who fell overboard – or some claim “threw herself” overboard, not William Bradford’s wife. Stephen Hopkins became governor of the settlement after Bradford. I expect there are other errors in fact as well.

  9. Stephen McLane
    January 31, 2016, 6:06 pm

    I am a 9th great grandson of Stephen Hopkins, and while I don’t want to nitpick too much, there are a couple of significant errors in previous posts. Gary, I’m sure when you say you are a great grandson, you’re using a bit of shorthand; otherwise you’d have to be at least 200 years old. Also, Oceanus was indeed born at sea. It was Peregrine White who was born at P Town. I don’t remember anyone referring to him as David in the show.

    Susan, it was indeed Bradford’s wife who drowned by falling or possibly jumping overboard. If it had been Hopkins’ wife Elizabeth I wouldn’t be writing this, because I’m descended from their second daughter named Damaris, who was born in Plymouth a few years after the Pilgrims had settled. Also, Stephen was never Governor of the Colony.