Synopsis by Mark Deming
In 1956, a group of five American missionaries were sent to Ecuador, where they introduced themselves to the Aucas, a tribe of indigenous people who lived near the Eastern Amazon River. The Auca tribe was among the most violent societies on Earth -- six out of ten deaths among the tribe were homicide, and they were even more bloodthirsty with outsiders than they were with their own. The Americans attempted to convince the Aucas of their good intentions, but they were soon speared to death by members of the tribe. However, after word reached the United States that the missionaries had been murdered, the wife of one of the fallen men traveled to Ecuador to continue her husband's work. Within two years, a profound change came over the Aucas -- their murder rate fell by 90 percent, and in time, the newly peaceful tribe renamed themselves the Waodani. Beyond the Gates of Splendor is a documentary which recounts this extraordinary true story as Steve Saint, the son of one of the murdered missionaries, travels to Ecuador to visit with the Waodani tribe.
mission [religious], missionary, murder, reconciliation, son, tribe