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Desperate Crossing
Desperate Crossing: The Untold Story of the Mayflower
@ The History Channel

The Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony were a small band of religious extremists who fled persecution in Europe in the hopes of creating a more godly society in the New World. These were not the sober, gray-haired Founding Fathers of legend - they were young, passionate and highly educated rebels who believed their king's religion violated the true faith. Condemned as traitors in England and forced into a life of exile and poverty in Holland, the group decideds to risk all and take their chances in the wilds of America.

But, in order to realize their venture, the pilgrims had to join forces with 50 so called "strangers," people who did not share their religious beliefs. The conflict between the two groups was exacerbated by a perilous sea voyage, disease and the harsh realities of surviving in the middle of winter in a hostile land. After much turmoil and hardship the colonists formed a cohesive group and found a way to forge a life for themselves in America, learning from and creating a fragile, temporary truce with the native peoples. From the treacherous ocean passage to the first years of struggle to establish a new home, the story of Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony is the story of America - with all its contradictions.

Desperate Crossing: The Untold Story of The Mayflower digs deeper into the facts than any previous documentary, to paint a devastating picture of the difficult lives of these early immigrants. Based on meticulous historical research and original source material including William Bradford's first-hand account, Of Plymouth Plantation, the program recreates the fascinating world of the Pilgrims in all its complexity.

Using historically accurate dramatizations, the special was shot on location at historic Plimoth Plantation, as well as in England, Belgium, Maryland and Virginia. Interviews with leading historians, scholars and modern day members of the Wampanoag community reveal the intricacy of the real story, an epic journey touched by religious fervor and intolerance, personal triumph and tragedy. Gifted actors from England's Royal Shakespeare Company provide an authentic picture of these 17th-century pioneers, presenting their stories with all the excitement and suspense of a feature film.

Desperate Crossing: The Untold Story of The Mayflower explodes time-honored myths about this determined band, including their relationship with the Native Americans. Tempered by years of violent discrimination, they came to New England armed and ready for a hostile reception. Beyond the traditional stories of Squanto and Massasoit sharing in the bounty of the first Thanksgiving lies a far more ambivalent relationship. Members of the Wampanoag community, the tribe that coexisted with the Pilgrims, shine a provocative new light on the uneasy pact between the two groups.

More about Desperate Crossing:

Review of the Presentation from Q & A with Producer and Director Lisa Wolfinger


— Facts vs. Myth Game (Offline)
(Unlock the first 10 minutes of the presentation plus deleted scenes and bloopers)

Desperate Crossing: The Untold Story of the Mayflower
@ The History Channel

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Desperate Crossing
The History Channel DVD:
Desperate Crossing