This movie takes place in the 18th century. The main plot of the movie is converting Indians into Christians. The main character in the movie is Mendoza (Robert De Niro). Mendoza was a slave trader who kills his brother in a fit of rage. He is full of guilt from the murder of his brother and yearns for redemption. He gets it from the missionaries. The missionaries orders Mendoza to carry a bag of heavy war up a swampy cliffy area. This was a very difficult and agonizing task. He keep slide down the cliff, but would not give up. Upon succeeding and venting all the angry and sin Mendoza became a missionary at a mission ruined by Gabriel (Jeremy Irons). Mendoza becomes a priest and vows to assist Gabriel with the mission and not to participate in any more violent acts.
Gabriel mission is to create a utopia, or a place were Christian natives will live happily with Spanish and Portuguese. Colonist does not think this is appropriate and wants to make Indians slaves instead of neighbors. Spain eventually sold to the Portugal's King. The Portugal's King believed in slavery and therefore the mission was not appropriate in the King's eye. Mendoza and Gabriel had different ideals about how to deal with this situation. Gabriel felt that praying and taking a non-violence approach would be the best approach. On the other hand Mendoza felt that placing those iron shields of armor that he carried up the cliff on himself and the Indians is the appropriate way. Mendoza the once murder and slave trader broke his vows to never participate in war or violence to fight for the Indians this time. The war was bloody and gross and in the end Mendoza and Gabriel lost.
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