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Horizon: An American Saga — Chapter 1 | 2024 | R | – 6.7.4

content-ratingsWhy is “Horizon: An American Saga — Chapter 1” rated R? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “violence, some nudity and sexuality.” The evaluation includes a sex scene, a couple of implied sex scenes, discussions of prostitution, partial non-sexual nudity, many scenes of conflicts between people using guns, arrows, spears, and explosives that lead to many deaths and injuries, several arguments, and some strong language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.

Several stories recounting the expansion and settlement of the western territories of the United States; the Montana, Wyoming and Kansas territories are explored in this first chapter. With Kevin Costner, Sienna Miller, Sam Worthington, Jena Malone, Owen Crow Shoe, Tatanka Means, Ella Hunt, Tim Guinee, Giovanni Ribisi, Danny Huston, Colin Cunningham, Scott Haze, Tom Payne, Abbey Lee, Michael Rooker, Will Patton, Jim Lau and Georgia MacPhail. Directed by Costner. Several lines of dialogue are spoken in Athabaskan with English subtitles. [Running Time: 3:01]

Horizon: An American Saga — Chapter 1 SEX/NUDITY 6

 – A young woman straddles a man lying in bed and reaches between her legs before thrusting and the scene ends. A young woman and a man put on their clothing (sex is implied) and talk about their plans (we see the woman’s cleavage and partial bare breast, and the man’s partial bare chest).
 A woman bathes outside her wagon at night and we see her bare breasts, abdomen, back and legs to the hips as two men watch her and she becomes alarmed. A young woman wearing a corset and bloomers (we see her cleavage and partial bare breast and shoulders) sits in a window sill and waves at a man on the road below (implying prostitution). A woman wears a low-cut dress that reveals cleavage. A young woman wears a low-cut dress that reveals deep cleavage in many scenes throughout the movie.
 A young woman strikes a seductive pose as a man walks by and later speaks to him and invites him to her cabin, attempting to seduce him and he eventually accepts her invitation. A woman kisses a man on the cheek and then on the lips. A woman kisses a man’s hand.
 A man speaks to a woman with aggressive sexual remarks (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details).

Horizon: An American Saga — Chapter 1 VIOLENCE/GORE 7

 – A man is shown lying dead on the ground with his gun next to him and we see blood on his body; several other armed men move slowly toward an encampment where people are gathered and attack using spears, arrows, hatchets and guns to kill many people and we see tents in flames, people running and being shot down, a woman is held down by several men and shot with an arrow, another woman is shot in the back with two arrows and her infant child is taken away as she screams and the woman is shot and killed; a man is shot twice in the chest with arrows and falls back (we see bloody spots on his shirt), a man in a tent with his family ignites an explosive that blows them and several attackers up in flames, and a young boy takes two horses and rides toward a military encampment chased by two men.
 A preteen girl sees someone moving outside in the dark and she and her family arm themselves as many men outside surround the cabin and set the roof on fire; other armed men arrive to fight off the attackers and gunfire is exchanged leaving many men dead inside with bloody wounds; a man falls through the flaming roof and holds a knife on people inside before he is shot in the head (blood is shown on his head). A man makes suggestive remarks to a woman and another man tries to distract him; the second man is struck in the head twice with a gun butt and he falls dead (a large pool of blood collects under his body). A preteen boy draws a bow toward several men, a man aims a gun at the boy and we hear a gunshot off-screen as armed people rush a small encampment and attack people; a young boy watches the mayhem from a hilltop and falls to his knees crying and a man is later shown cutting scalps from bodies and his hands are bloodied.
 A man and a young man argue and the young man threatens the man; the man cocks his gun and the young man draws and shoots as the man shoots the young man several times, killing him (we see several bloody wounds as he flinches and dies). A woman with a shotgun enters a cabin where a man is sleeping, she shoots him twice in the chest and rides away in a cart with a young child crying as the man shoots at her but misses; we see blood on the man’s shirt and hand and he is shown dead later. A man shoots another man twice in the chest and he falls back dead (blood spurts). A woman shoots a man in the head (we see the bloody wound). Two men and a young boy survey and stake property lines on land while several men and preteen boys watch from a distance; we later see the first men and boy dead with bloody wounds on their chests (one body’s bare back is shown crawling with ants and flies buzz around all the bodies). A woman stabs a man through the back with a spear and we see the spear tip bloodied as he falls to the ground dead; the woman runs away from a man on horseback chasing and shooting at her.
 A woman is shown with a bloody nose and bruise on her cheek after being struck by a man. A woman slaps a young woman hard in the face during an argument. A man kicks a young man in the chest and he falls back. A young boy is given a handgun and told to load it and take aim at a man; the man is given a gun and the boy takes aim, but does not shoot. A boy shoots an arrow at another boy that dodges the arrow and shoots a gun at him as he rides away. A man on horseback with a deer across it sees other men approaching and tries to load a weapon; he cannot load the weapon and runs to engage the others using a hatchet: they fight, presumably killing the man over hunting on their land.
 A woman and her preteen daughter crawl through an escape hatch and into a tunnel, they find that it is blocked and they struggle to breathe; the woman slams a shotgun barrel through the ceiling of the tunnel to the outside and they breathe through the barrel until they are rescued. A horse rears and whinnies, a woman cuts it loose from its harness and the animal walks away; we later see it lying on the ground presumably dying. A man and a young woman argue and the man slaps the woman in the face.
 A preteen girl identifies the bodies of her father and her brother among several bodies lying on tables and covered with blankets; a woman clutches her son’s body and grieves over him. People comb through rubble and smoldering debris to find bodies and items. A body hangs from gallows in the background of a scene. Many wagons park in a circle at night with animals collected in the center when the wagon train leader sees that they are being watched by men on horseback. Several young people hold a gun and one older boy takes the gun, points it at several of them, and pretends to shoot a preteen girl until another boy tells him to stop. A preteen girl is afraid when she sees scorpions in their tent and a woman slams a shoe on them (we see goo squished on the floor).
 A young boy is told that his parents died in an attack and he cries. A woman yells at two young men taking furniture out of her cabin and she hits them on the head with an umbrella. A woman throws something at a young woman standing outside a saloon and attempting to seduce men arriving in town; the woman accuses her of stealing her business. A young woman sticks her tongue out at a man as she walks away. An officer is told that the camp doctor is drunk and he throws a bucket of water on him (we hear the splash and see the wet man later as he stumbles out of the office).
 A man and his son argue about fighting with encroaching settlers to maintain their land. A man kicks another man and scolds him and a woman for not participating in the work that needs to be done by everyone on a wagon train and behaving as if they should be catered to. A man reprimands two men for watching a woman bathe; one of the men stands up in a threatening manner and the first man walks away. A woman yells at a young woman and a man about not wanting to leave her 2-year-old child alone. A few men debate agriculture practices. We hear that a man’s child has died. A man gathers people for labor and says, “English speakers only. No more Chinese.”
 Bodies are buried in shallow graves and sprinkled with a white powder. Several scalps with clumps of hair are seen attached to a spear. People gather around a dead body when it is brought home in a cart (we see the discolored flesh and bullet wounds on the body’s face and chest). Three graves marked with wooden crosses are shown in several scenes. A man spits in several scenes and we see saliva. A woman carries two dead chickens and we later see her pulling the feathers from one of them. A man urinates into a trench (we do not see urine or flesh).
 Thunderclaps and lightning flashes during a rainstorm and water drips through a wagon cover onto a book of drawings.

Horizon: An American Saga — Chapter 1 LANGUAGE 4

 – 3 scatological terms, 3 anatomical terms, 17 mild obscenities, 1 derogatory term for Native Americans, name-calling (fool, White Eyes, lady friends, shy of brains, unhealthy, bad man, idiot, bastard, fierce woman, saddle tramp, ratty, fathead, honey), exclamations (be gone with you, oh gosh, shut-up, that wasn’t nice, she’s funning me, oh no, stop it), 12 religious profanities (GD), 23 religious exclamations (e.g. Jesus, Jesus Christ, oh God, oh my God, my God, I swear to God, by God, dear God). | profanity glossary |

Horizon: An American Saga — Chapter 1 SUBSTANCE USE

 – A man pours a glass of liquor from a decanter and drinks, two men drink from glasses of liquor in an office, a man drinks from a flask, a young man drinks from a bottle of liquor and shares with a man, and a preteen girl says that a man has been drinking and we see him stumble out of a building later.

Horizon: An American Saga — Chapter 1 DISCUSSION TOPICS

 – The expansion and settlement in U.S. history of land inhabited by indigenous people, buying and selling land, reason, fear, vanity, death of children, privilege.

Horizon: An American Saga — Chapter 1 MESSAGE

 – The expansion of settlers across the United States came with an untold level of bloodshed.


Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.

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