It happened just before dawn on May 26, 1637 in Mystic, Connecticut: English colonists, for the first time, unleashed total war designed to obliterate an entire Indian tribe in the New World. Hundreds of men, women and children of the Pequot tribe were burned to death on a day that changed forever the relationship between those who had recently arrived and those who had lived here for countless generations.

Produced as one of ten episodes in the mini-series “Ten Days that Unexpectedly Changed America,” this film depicts how the long shadow of this war shaped American history, setting a pattern for the government’s destructive policy toward native tribes.

Delving into the complex relationships between the English and Pequots, leading to the massacre, the film examines the bitter clash of cultures, including the conflicts that erupted over property rights and religion and the devastating impact of European disease epidemincs on the native population.

The story of the Pequot tribe is an ideal prism through which to explore not only these clashes but to witness the extraordinary phenomenon of Native American rebirth. How the survivors of this decimated tribe managed to reclaim a tiny sliver of their ancestral land and use the laws of their vanquishers to build an economic empire, is a dramatic story that begins just after the war and continues to this day.

The film was produced for The History Channel, to air in 2006. Filming took place at the Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts, as well as Santa Clarita, California, where an authentic Pequot fortified village was constructed for the filming, and then the wigwams were burned to give a very real sense of what it might have looked like on that fateful night.