September Dawn is based on the true story of the September 11, 1857, murders of 120 Christian settlers as they traveled from Utah to California. Known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre, the slayings were organized by Bishop John Samuelson (Jon Voight), a member of the Mormon religion who initially tells the members of the wagon train that they can pass safely if they lay down their weapons. Samuelson becomes infuriated when his son, Jonathan (Trent Ford), develops a crush on Emily (Tamara Hope), a young lady who is traveling with the wagon train. Convinced that the settlers are only at Mountain Meadows to attack the Mormons and their religion, he orders the murders of all the men, women, and children in the wagon train. In the film, Brigham Young (Terrence Stamp), the leader of the Mormon church, supports Samuelson's actions, although this point is contested by the church. September Dawn was directed by Christopher Cain.