Beyond the Gates of Splendor

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Beyond the Gates of Splendor
Beyond the Gates of Splendor FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed byJim Hanon
Produced byKevin McAfee
Written byJim Hanon
Elisabeth Elliot
Frank Drown
Steve Saint
Narrated bySteve Saint
Music byRonald Owen
CinematographyRobert Fraisse
Edited byMiles Hanon
Distributed byEvery Tribe Entertainment
Release date
  • September 27, 2002 (2002-09-27)
Running time
96 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$36,412
(US box office total)

Beyond the Gates of Splendor (also Beyond the Gates) is a feature-length documentary film that was released in 2004. It chronicles the events leading up to and following Operation Auca, an attempt to contact the Huaorani tribe of Ecuador in which five American missionaries were killed. The film was produced by Bearing Fruit Productions and distributed by Every Tribe Entertainment.


The title of the film references Elisabeth Elliot's 1957 bestseller, Through Gates of Splendor. First published in 1957, the book told the original story of the five martyred missionaries. A low budget documentary film was also produced with the same name in 1967. One year after Gates was published, the first successful peaceful contact with the Huaorani tribe was made. In the years that followed, many Huaos were converted to Christianity and changed their lifestyle. Therefore, Beyond the Gates recounts the unfolding story up unto the present day. The film also included new information that has since come out about the Palm Beach Massacre through communication with the Indians.

Beyond the Gates was very influential in the production of the drama film End of the Spear, which was released four years later. Many of the same events recounted by the Huaorani interviewees in Beyond the Gates were depicted dramatically in End of the Spear.


The film was shot on location in Ecuador; Ocala, Florida; Seattle, Washington; and at Wheaton College. There were also interviews from all five widows (two years before both Marilou McCully and Marj Saint died), members of the search party and members of the Huaorani tribe.

The crew spent 17 days in the jungle to interview members of the Huaorani tribe.


The Five Widows:

The Saint Family:

  • Steve Saint, son of Nate Saint
  • Kathy Saint Drown, daughter of Nate Saint
  • Rachel Saint, sister of Nate Saint
  • Jesse Saint, son of Steve Saint
  • Jaime Saint, son of Steve Saint
  • Ginny Saint, wife of Steve Saint



  • Dave Howard, brother of Elisabeth Elliot
  • Frank Drown, missionary colleague of Roger Youderian and member of the search party, part Avant Ministries (formerly Gospel Missionary Union)
  • Col. Malcolm Nurnberg, leader of the search party
  • Clayton Robarchek, anthropologist
  • Carole Robarchek, anthropologist
  • Valerie Elliot Shepard, daughter of Jim Elliot


The film won the Crystal Heart Award at the Heartland Film Festival in 2002. It also won the Audience Award at the Palm Beach International Film Festival in 2004 for Best Documentary Feature.


Guthrie, Stan. "Review: Beyond the Gates of Splendor". Christianity Today. January 1, 2005. Retrieved 15 February 2015.

External links[edit]