Get ready for nonstop action in this rousing tale of a Native American who defies incredible odds in his struggle for freedom! Squanto, a young warrior abducted from his homeland and enslaved, must battle impossible hazard... more »s on a desperate journey home. Driven by a passion to be free, he risks everything to escape his captors, braving the wilderness and triumphing, finally, as a great leader. A vivid true story of one man's unquenchable thirst for independence, SQUANTO: A WARRIOR'S TALE thrills with high-powered action and inspires with legendary courage!« less
Michelle H. (snoozemouse) from CHEYENNE, WY Reviewed on 12/19/2010...
I really enjoy this movie. Mandy Patinkin is excellent. Adam Beach makes his character very real.
This isn't history
K. Manning | Central Asia | 11/14/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This movie had great reviews, so I was eager to watch it, but threw it in the trash afterwards. Sadly, this is an example of historical revisionism, not a "true story." I'd give it zero stars if that were possible.
The real Tisquantum (nicknamed Squanto) was an adolescent, not a married young man, when kidnapped by Spanish, not English, slave traders. He was purchased on the slave block by monks, who taught him the Spanish language and the Christian faith. He lived with them for five years, until they secured a home for him with an English family in London. In England Squanto learned a second language, English, and waited another five years until he found passage back to North America. When he finally arrived home, he found his tribe completely wiped out from disease (they had no immunity to pathogens picked up accidently from the Europeans) -- that one bit the movie did correctly report -- and in his sorrow went to live in seclusion in the wilderness near his tribal village.
A year or so later, Samoset found him, told him of the Pilgrims who'd settled in his village, and encouraged him to meet with them. There was no near-war between Pilgrim and Native American hostile to them (hostilities did happen, but later); no chief's son who was saved from death by the joint actions of a European doctor and American Medicine Man. It just didn't happen the way this movie depicts.
Instead, the Pilgrims were amazed that Squanto spoke English. According to their records, he welcomed them, and he taught this group of non-farmers how to survive. The Pilgrims had lost huge numbers from the deadly winter, but with his help the group flourished. They also indicated he embraced the Christian faith.
This film skips over all this completely, and adds in terrible material such as being thrown in a pit to fight a bear for the entertainment of the British population. Not only did that never happen to Squanto, there's no record that any Native Americans were treated that way in Europe.
This isn't to say that the Native Americans weren't abused by Europeans -- they were, and much of the relations between them were poor. But that sad truth doesn't justify completely re-writing Sqanto's story just to prove some kind of point.
Sometimes filmmakers are flexible with history for the purposes of creating a more exciting story (frankly, much of human history is kind of boring). But I wish they hadn't changed this one. The true story is exciting enough; perhaps someday Squanto's real story will be filmed."
This Movie Has Too Much "Inspiration" and Too Little Accurac
Lonnie E. Holder | Columbus, Indiana, United States | 08/29/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The producers of this movie should have titled it, "Squanto: How We Would Have Scripted His Life." It took me a while to figure out fact from the fiction regarding Squanto's life. Unfortunately, this movie not only skipped the facts, it added confusion to them.
Let us begin with the facts. There was a Native American named Tisquantum, whom the Pilgrims called Squanto. Squanto was tricked into going to England in 1605. Squanto learned English during his stay in England. Eventually Squanto returned to North America, in 1614, with a pair of English ships. One of the two ships returned to England, leaving Squanto behind. The remaining English captain kidnapped Squanto and twenty-six other Native Americans and took them to Spain to sell them as slaves. Local friars in Spain discovered what was happening and took the Native Americans into custody with the intent of teaching them Christianity. In 1618, Squanto boarded a ship bound for Newfoundland.
In Newfoundland, Squanto was recognized and taken back to England. Squanto returned to North America in 1619 to aid in mapping the coast and in re-establishing trade with Native Americans. Squanto learned that disease had destroyed his village, so he moved in with a neighboring tribe. The following year the Pilgrims landed approximately at the site of Squanto's village. Squanto helped the Pilgrims survive by teaching them how to find native fish and how to fertilize crops.
Eventually, Squanto abused his influence over the Pilgrims and manipulated the local tribes. Massasoit, the local sachem, or high chief, asked the Pilgrims to turn Squanto over to him for execution. Either fortunately or unfortunately, an English ship arrived, distracting everyone. Before Massasoit could force the Pilgrims to turn Squanto over to Massasoit, he contracted a fever and died in 1622.
I think these are the basic facts of Squanto's life. There are some minor disagreements between sources, but most sources seem to generally agree on the details above.
The movie seems to have mixed and matched facts to make a faster-paced, completely fictional story. For example, we see Squanto kidnapped and taken to England, where he wrestles a bear. Squanto escapes and encounters friars, who teach him English. Squanto befriends a hawk, so we get a bit of mysticism in the story. In case you had yet to notice, mysticism and Native Americans sells movies.
Squanto tricks his way back into the New World. Squanto heads off to his village, only to find it gone. Squanto then wanders about in the woods until he encounters another tribe and Pilgrims, about ready to kill each other off. Fortunately, Squanto halts the bloodshed before it really gets started. There is an incident in the movie where the son of a sachem is shot and a Pilgrim doctor saves the child and everyone lives happily ever after; or, as the epilogue tells us at the end of the movie, everyone lives happily for two generations until they forget the lesson of Squanto.
Squanto was a real person. Squanto helped the Pilgrims. Without Squanto, the Pilgrims likely would have all died in their first year in the New World. Stick to those facts and you can hardly go wrong. The movie went well beyond those facts, with a reinterpretation of history that borders on the absurd. If you show your children this movie, warn them that this movie is completely fictional, except for the facts at the beginning of this paragraph. You may also pose a problem for slightly older children. Watch this movie and see how many historical errors you can find with library and internet research. This movie is a possible object lesson to teach children that they should question the garbage that can go into a "historically inspired" movie.
This movie does do one thing well, and that is its general portrayal of Native Americans. Much of what you see, minus the mysticism and some of the details, is relatively accurate. Many of the actors are Native Americans (at least they got THAT right). Had Disney used the same accuracy with the rest of the movie, they would have done fine.
I love movies that have high family values. I love historically inspired movies. However, this movie is beyond inspired and is a completely fictional version of a real human being's life. Why Disney felt they had to go this far is beyond me. Sure, Disney magnified and sanitized Davy Crockett's life, but at least Disney got the gist of Crockett's life correct and much of it was a bit tongue-in-cheek; Disney completely missed with Squanto. Do yourself and your family a favor and avoid this movie. "
Early Native American East Coast Area
Lonnie E. Holder | 06/09/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Excellent use of early N.A. accoutrements and design. Story line easy to follow. Acting is very believable. Characters are stong and this movie leaves you wanting more. I bought it and have watched it many times. Use of native languages is a BIG plus."
Not factually perfect, but a great teaching tool
M. Bauer | Colorado | 12/05/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are looking for a historically precise biography of Squanto's life, this movie is not the place. If you would like to show kids 8 years and up how life was for the early New England settlers and Native Americans and teach them a valuable lesson of acceptance, this is a five star movie.
I've used this movie for several years with my fourth grade class. After the movie, I have them highlight differences between the movie and this short biography (updated with research published in the Nov/Dec issue of Native Peoples magazine by Richard Williams):
One day in 1605, a young Patuxet boy named Tisquantum (later known as Squanto) and his dog were hunting when they saw a large ship off the coast of Plymouth, Massachusetts. The people on the ship came to trade with the Native Americans (Indians). After trading, the ship's captain George Weymouth invited Squanto, his friend Samoset, and three others to board their ship.
Once aboard the ship, the five boys were chained and taken to England so investors in the shipping company could see Indians. In England, Squanto was forced to live with Sir Ferdinand Gorges, who owned the Plymouth Company. Sir Gorges taught him English so Squanto could teach ship captains his Native American language. In 1614, Squanto was brought back to America to guide, interpret, and help map the New England coast.
Back in America for a short while, Squanto was soon kidnapped a second time, along with 27 other Indians. They were taken to Malaga, Spain and were sold as slaves for about $25 apiece. Local priests learned about their fate, freed them from the slave traders, and baptized them in Christianity. Squanto found his way back to England, and he returned to America in 1618.
Squanto's return home did not last long. He was recognized by one of Gorges' captains, captured a third time, and sent back to England as Gorges' slave.
Gorges promised to free Squanto if he would go back to America with Thomas Dermer and finish mapping the New England coast. In 1619 Squanto returned to his village and found it deserted. He learned that his entire tribe had died from diseases (such as smallpox) brought over by European settlers.
Since Squanto was alone after gaining his freedom, he moved in with the neighboring Wampanoag tribe. This tribe was ruled by Chief Massasoit. In 1920 the Pilgrims made their famous voyage and landed at Plymouth Rock. They settled at the deserted Patuxet village. Squanto made friends with the Pilgrims and taught them how to survive in this new land.
On March 22, 1621 Chief Massasoit sent Squanto to the Pilgrims and they signed a peace treaty between the Wampanoags and the Pilgrims. Squanto became popular. He tried to overcome Massasoit and become the leader of the Wampanoags. Squanto lost and became less popular. A year and a half later, Squanto died of smallpox while on a trading expedition. His death ended the Patuxet lineage.
This movie can be used as an excellent teaching tool, and is therefore strongly recommended. "