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In the movie The Mission, 16th c. Jesuit monks have been working with the Guarani Indians, bringing them not only the gospel but agriculture and medicine and music. Across the ocean, the Treaty of Madrid transfers the land from Portugal to Spain. The Jesuits are evicted, the Indian settlements are burnt, and the people slaughtered or taken into slavery.

The two monks whose story forms the center of the movie react very differently. One keeps his vows, the other takes up arms - his previous profession - in a fruitless stand against the invaders. Both are killed.

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