Synopsis by Hal Erickson
This 90-minute PBS documentary chronicles the turbulent life and times of Connecticut-born, Calvinist-raised abolitionist John Brown. His fervent hatred of slavery led Brown down the road of fanaticism after passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, which allowed settlers of the Western territories to determine themselves whether or not they would establish "slave" or "free" states. In response to the pro-slave "Border Ruffians" who descended upon Kansas, Brown and his sons conducted a campaign of terror and retribution throughout the territory, culminating in the infamous Pottawatamie Massacre. Brown's mission came to a bloody but not ignominious end at Harper's Ferry in 1859. Rather than taking an editorial stand, John Brown's Holy War permits the viewer to determine whether Brown was a madman or a martyr.
abolition [of slavery], crusade, fanatic, hatred, infamy, massacre, mission [quest], terror