Cult Massacre: One Day in Jonestown (2024) s01e02 Episode Script

How Very Much I've Loved You

[ominous music playing]
[inaudible dialogue]
[Jim Jones]
And all these are our youngsters,
you know, they're all happy,
look at, uh, Tommy.
You wanna go back to the States?
-No. Mm-mm.
-[Jim Jones] No way?
I can't get you to go back to the States?
-[Tommy] No.
-[Jim Jones laughs]
[Jim Jones] He says he won't go back.
Obviously, that's the general attitude.
I don't wanna go back either.
-Nobody wants to go.
-I'm happy down here.
Everybody's happy down here.
You can see that that's an obvious fact.
[Thom Bogue]
I had actually been part of this
since I was, like,
five years old and I hated it,
I was angry all the time,
I had no childhood to speak of
and wanted nothing more
than to escape that place and
get back to the United States,
get back home.
That's all I really wanted,
that's all I could think about.
[ominous music playing]
[inaudible dialogue]
I just remember it's like,
just this massive relief
just washed over me
'cause we were leaving.
And then Jones, of course,
wanted to talk to my mom.
He was deeply hurt
'cause our family
had been part of that church
for many, many, many years.
I understand.
I understand the love of your family.
It's not that I don't think what
you're doing here is wonderful,
because I do.
Just know that there's always
a place for you here with us.
[mouths] Yeah.
Always a place.
[Charles Krause]
It was pretty shocking.
It's not every day that
somebody tries to kill a congressman.
[inaudible dialogue]
And it was like total confusion.
Does that mean all hell's
gonna break loose now?
Are we gonna be attacked?
[ominous music playing]
What does this mean?
That's all you had
what does this mean?
[symphonic theme music playing]
[inaudible dialogue]
[music continues]
[inaudible dialogue]
[inaudible dialogue]
[music continues]
[inaudible dialogue]
[inaudible chanting]
[music continues]
[inaudible dialogue]
[inaudible dialogue]
[inaudible dialogue]
[ominous music playing]
[birds chirping]
[Bogue] There was around 30 of us
who were all trying to get out of there.
Uh, the congressman,
the news crew, the journalists,
and us families.
We just needed to get on those planes.
You're standing right there
at that airstrip
just a few miles from Jonestown,
anything could still happen.
[Jackie Speier]
Congressman Ryan,
he had this shirt
that was now blood stained.
I was thinking, "My God, we just,
we just got out of here
in the nick of time."
[Steve Sung]
We arrived at the airstrip.
By that time, we all wanted to
get out of the place real fast.
It was the first time we got a chance
to speak to Congressman Ryan
since someone tried to stab him.
NBC reporter Don Harris wanted
to interview him about it.
[Don Harris] What happened?
I stood up and was,
uh, had been talking with, uh,
the two attorneys for the Temple, uh,
and, uh, suddenly
the knife was around my neck
and, uh, I, I was in danger,
and I pushed the hand away,
uh, fell back against him,
others grabbed him
and, uh
uh, pulled him off me and I
that's where we are.
[Harris] Did he say anything
when he came up?
Yeah, he said, uh, something about,
uh, rob and choke and kill
and, uh, or knife, I don't know.
[stammers] What he said was
he intended to kill me.
Uh, he was tough and
I mean, in a good way,
I mean, he was not a crybaby,
and he just says,
"Let's just get out of here."
I remember being excited,
excited about the fact
I'm getting away from this place.
The mixed feeling, I remember that one,
between relief
and fear at the same time.
Relief you're out of there,
but fearful
in knowing what could happen still.
I was thinking to myself,
"What Jim Jones was going to do next?"
[dramatic music buildup]
[Stephan Jones] I imagine people
in Jonestown were wondering,
"Would Dad really let them leave?"
I wasn't there that day, um,
but I know that his following
was his whole life.
People talk about that
Jim Jones was a good man
who got lost in power and drugs,
and whatever, and, you know,
he became sick later on,
but I had a very different
perspective on my father,
and I saw behind the curtain.
A lot of my father's craziness
was well hidden for years, um,
but he was as nuts as anybody gets.
[inaudible dialogue]
He really just was constantly trying
to feel better about himself.
And I think he was tortured
because the more he acted on his impulses,
because he was an addict and he didn't,
it wasn't just substances that he used
to feel better in the moment.
He had no boundaries around what he could,
should or shouldn't do.
[inaudible dialogue]
One of the first things
Dad did when he got to Jonestown
was to take people's
passports away from them.
If you wanted to go back Stateside,
you had to ask his permission.
[Jim Jones speaking]
[Peoples Temple Member speaking]
[airplane blades whirring]
[Bogue] At Port Kaituma airstrip,
there was one plane there already,
realized that there weren't
enough seats in one plane
and so they had to order another plane.
You're on pins and needles
for the entire time
where you're waiting
for that plane to arrive.
You could tell everybody's
kinda feeling the same thing.
And then finally you hear
the plane coming.
[plane engine rumbling]
I had this huge sense of relief
that finally we were
going to get out of here.
Many of the defectors were anxious.
They were fearful,
and they just wanted out
and they wanted out fast.
They were becoming increasingly worried
that Jim Jones would be plotting
revenge back in Jonestown.
[announcer] [on PA]
Simons, Bobby Simons.
Please come to the radio room.
Bobby Simons.
[eerie music playing]
Jones was just, um, absolutely furious
and it scared the crap out of me,
you know, my intuition
was telling me something.
[announcer] Bobby Simons,
please come to the radio room.
[Carter] After the congressman
left to go to the airstrip,
the atmosphere in Jonestown
was somber, sadness.
I was in complete and total
and utter shock.
I mean, really, just,
it was like a,
a completely different level,
it went from, um, people leaving to
somebody tried to
just murder a congressman.
And it was horrible.
[inaudible dialogue]
Um, but Jones is, he's going
[smacking lips]
"I've never felt
Jonestown so peaceful."
Just gave me chills throughout my body
and I wanted to scream at him, "Peaceful?"
I'm in agony here,
there's people in agony here
and you say Jonestown is the most peaceful
you've ever felt it?
I mean, it was lunacy.
It was the way he said it
and the look on his face,
it was creepy and then he said,
he goes, "I think somebody
might do something."
[inaudible dialogue]
We accelerated, uh, the,
the boarding of the large plane.
[Bogue] My family,
we ended up on the bigger plane.
Outside still was Ryan,
photography crew, reporters,
the aide, Jackie Speier.
[Tim Reiterman] Meantime,
members of Peoples Temple
on a dump truck and a tractor trailer
became a cause for concern,
especially the ex-members, they said,
"I think we've got trouble,"
you know, "Watch yourself."
[Krause] A tractor and a trailer,
it started coming towards us
across the airstrip.
[Speier] I never saw it
come on to the airstrip
'cause my back was to them,
and I was busy placing people
on the two planes.
People said, "Let's get on the plane,
let's get out of here."
We didn't really have any idea
what was about to happen.
And then, when the tractor trailer
pulls up near us,
suddenly I saw the gunmen.
[ominous music playing]
-[man groans]
[Sung] When I seen
my partner Bob Brown get killed,
that's when I got really scared.
I saw them get off the truck,
climbing out of the truck with rifles,
I know they're gonna
get to me before long,
I thought for sure I'm goner.
There's no place to hide,
there's no protection.
At that moment, we know we are dead.
They were firing all over the place.
I mean, I don't think I've ever
heard a gun fired before,
I mean, pop, pop, pop,
and people started screaming.
Everyone started to scatter, who could,
some people were yelling.
The gunshots rang out
and at first, I didn't know what it was
and then I saw Congressman Ryan got hit
and I thought, "Oh, my God."
I was horrified.
I raced around to the side of the plane
and, and was trying to hide
behind the wheel.
So, right away, I put my face
flat on the ground,
covered my head with my arms,
tried to hide.
And I just waited
for the shooting to end.
[clicks tongue]
and then, um
and then I was shot,
and I realized that, um,
this was gonna be it,
that I was going to die.
I said the Act of Contrition
because I was, um, raised
as a good Catholic girl, um
and I just waited
for the lights to go out.
-[man groans]
[Bogue] When the shooting started,
we're already in the plane.
They start going around
shooting around people outside.
You know, it's true what they say,
that seems, seem like they're
happening in slow motion
but everything is moving really fast.
They went ahead and started shooting
into our plane through the door
and the lady in front of me,
the back of her head got shot off
and her brain literally fell at my feet
which kinda, like,
set in, this is for real.
You know, my father
had told me previously,
"If anything happens here,
grab your sisters and run to the jungle."
So, I did.
[Reiterman] I tried to take shelter
behind, um, a wheel,
just about as I hit the ground,
uh, I got, I got shot
in the left arm and wrist.
I jumped up and ran for the jungle,
clawed my way in some brush
where I was safe for the moment on my own
and I could cinch my wounds with my belt.
The mind was just running a mile a minute.
We were deep into the jungle.
We're thinking they're tracking us.
What nobody knew
is I'd actually been shot.
It was like, "Oh, crap,
half my leg's missing."
[dark music playing]
[Krause] On the airstrip,
there was no place for me to hide.
They were firing all over the place.
Dirt would spray up.
Every time one would come near me,
you know, the dirt would spray.
Uh, a bullet hit my side,
it was powerful, boom!
It really it's just very powerful.
and I thought, I'm gonna die.
They kept firing, and then it stopped.
Somebody got off the tractor trailer truck
and fired three shots, as I remember,
very close to where I was.
As they came, uh, around
and, and actually shot us
at point-blank range,
they had targeted who they wanted to kill.
And I think what they were doing was
making sure that
the congressman had been killed
and whoever else they shot.
The only thing I could think of
to do was to play dead
and think that,
well, if they think I'm dead
maybe they're not gonna shoot me again.
I I, I thought that moment that
[clears throat] just a matter of time
they will get to me for sure,
I know it's coming.
It's, it's instinct tells you
that's the end.
All of a sudden, I looked around
and I saw what had happened.
Five people had been killed.
Congressman Ryan
Don Harris, the NBC correspondent
Patricia Parks, one of the defectors
Greg Robinson, a photographer
with the San Francisco Examiner
and Bob Brown, the NBC cameraman.
Another dozen or so had been
really very badly wounded.
It was a question of how could,
what could we do with the wounded,
the really badly wounded people?
So, we dragged them over into the grass
because we thought
maybe that the assassins
were gonna come back,
so we tried to hide them.
[Reiterman] There was an ongoing threat
that the Peoples Temple gunmen
could return.
We needed a safe place to get people
and so the most severely wounded
were taken to a tent
at the end of the airstrip.
The rest of us were afforded shelter
in, um, in a small rum shop.
[Krause] As all of this was going on,
one of the planes suddenly,
the propellor starts and it takes off.
It was the pilots,
they didn't tell us they were going,
they didn't take the wounded
people with them.
I remember saying
"Those bastards,"
you know, "Those cowards."
You just realize that something
terrible's just happened
and there's no way out,
there's no way out, you are there,
and you don't know
what's gonna happen next.
[helicopter blades whirring]
[Carter] The loudspeakers came on
and it said everybody report
to the pavilion or a meeting.
[Jim Jones speaking]
[Carter] So, we walked
up to the pavilion
it was a very quiet walk.
The tractor trailer
came back from the airstrip.
There was this huge commotion.
Jones, he looked manic, you know, crazy,
and it scared the crap out of me.
[Jim Jones speaking]
[Carter] When I heard
that the congressman had been shot,
I was horrified.
I felt like breaking down,
I mean, uh, it felt like
the temple had disintegrated,
I didn't see any way we were gonna go on.
I genuinely believed
in what we were supposed to be building.
How do you like it here?
It's beautiful, I can't, I--
I've never been so totally happy
or fulfilled in my life,
I can't begin to describe it.
You could sit here and talk all day long
and no words could describe
the peace, the beauty,
the sense of accomplishment
and responsibility
and, and camaraderie that's here, it's uh,
it's overwhelming, it really is,
you can't describe it.
[present day]
I thought of it as a community
that was being built
that had the opportunity
to become something that actually would,
might be the equivalent to a Utopia.
Built with good people.
We had a lot of skill.
You know, we had people
that were carpenters, mechanics,
college professors.
It was a place where
sexism, ageism, racism,
all of those different forms
of elitism had been eliminated.
I had some pride in what we had built
and it was beautiful.
I loved it, I loved the wildness of it.
While we were building the town
for our community
we did incredibly hard work
and the camaraderie,
it was just, it was just beautiful to me.
[indistinct chatter]
We had fun together.
When we were there
we were free, we felt free.
[Jim Jones]
Three and a half miles
back into the bush,
we will be in Jonestown.
This is the road leading us to there.
[inaudible dialogue]
[Stephan Jones]
But when Dad got there
it was a very different environment,
very different, uh, feel.
[Jim Jones] And they're happy
and in good health, aren't you?
[Temple member] Never felt
better in my life, father.
[Jim Jones] You look,
actually, younger than you did
when you came down here by ten years.
It's amazing.
[Stephan Jones] Uh, when dad got there,
your time was his time,
making himself the center of attention.
[Jim Jones] There was a,
this is a walking stick
[Stephan Jones]
First it started with meetings
almost every night
[Jim Jones] insects and, uh,
all kinds of birds and animals
who don't harm at all
[Stephan Jones] He would talk
for a really long time sometimes,
just, they were pretty freewheeling.
[Jim Jones] It's just
tremendous what the power
of father's socialism can do for all.
[Stephan Jones]
We were beholden to him.
The next thing, his voice, you know,
he was constantly coming
on the loudspeaker,
constantly you had to hear him.
[Jim Jones]
Ku Klux Klan marching in
Cicero, Illinois, and in Detroit
[Stephan Jones]
It had been hammered into us
how selfish it is
to want anything for yourself.
You could only think of the greater good,
that's all that mattered.
Then the next thing,
relationships were not okay.
He was threatened by family,
he was threatened
by romantic relationships
because there were places
where people could commiserate
and, uh, conspire against him.
So, Dad was always
working people against each other.
Jim Jones worked diligently to,
to break apart the family unit.
Everything you did was monitored
and if you don't act right
everything can change on a dime.
[Jim Jones speaking]
[Temple members clamoring]
[Stephan Jones]
Dad became cruel
and we became numb to it.
There were beatings.
People were abused and belittled and,
um, and many were drugged toward the end.
You'd be put in this room,
inside of one of the dorms
and injected with drugs
for what could be weeks
or a month at a time.
Those almost seemed like experiments to me
because when people
came out of that dorm
they were far from normal.
When you woke up in the morning,
you were like
"I woke up again to this,"
where you actually
kinda wondered, you know,
it would've been nice if I
could've just died in my sleep.
These are potato chips made from plantain
and they're more delicious,
they're a combination
of potato chip and a French fry.
And radishes, mm, mm, mm.
You don't know
what you're missing down here.
[Bogue] Jim Jones kept selling Jonestown
as a wonderful place
and you felt totally trapped
because there was no end to it in sight.
Sugar, sealed.
We have much more of this in [indistinct].
Flour, flour, rice,
black eyed peas, more peas.
We have different containers
around the place,
we couldn't go through
all the tremendous inventory
they've built up. Kool-Aid.
[ominous music playing]
[Bogue] It's been probably
about a couple of hours
since the shooting stopped.
We ended up going over a mile
deep into the jungle.
And it had gotten so dark
that we could no longer move around
because you literally cannot see
your hand in front of your face.
Total darkness.
I was starting to get a little delirious.
At that point, I could barely walk.
One thing I remember is,
is thinking to myself,
I don't know what way to go
and I know if we go
the wrong direction, we're dead.
And it was frightening.
We didn't know where
the rest of the group were.
Night fell, it was very tense
it was frightening,
you know, it was scary.
Some people had run into the jungle
and were still hiding.
But about 15 of us took shelter
in the rum shop.
For the very badly wounded,
there was no medicine, there was nothing.
Someone had the idea
of giving them some rum
to maybe numb them in a way, which we did.
Poured this thing on my wound, tried to
Thought maybe that would help stop the,
stop the pain,
well, that's what I thought,
I didn't think about anything else.
They said, the guy said,
"Oh, you drink that,
you don't, you don't waste
the whiskey like that."
That's why I drank the whole,
the rest down my throat,
that's why I pass out because I got drunk.
We were trying to stay quiet
and not, not attract attention.
Some of the temple defectors
basically believed that horrible things
were going to happen in Jonestown.
They were talking about a white night,
and I said, "You know, what is
this white night business?"
And whoever it was said to me, "Oh, yeah,
that's when they practice
drinking the poison."
I said, "They practice
drinking the poison?
Is that what you're saying?"
We were told about these,
what they called white night trials.
[inaudible chanting]
The defectors, they said
they were being tested
as to whether or not they were
truly committed to Jim Jones
and his teachings.
They said Jim Jones forced them
to come into the pavilion
and drink, uh, a drink that
they were told it was gonna be poison.
And only afterwards were told
that it wasn't real,
that it was just a rehearsal.
But those that didn't go through
with it were punished.
They were forced to show their commitment.
He called it a white night.
Revolutionary suicide.
[inaudible chanting]
[Stephan Jones] The white nights,
when that first happened,
we didn't know what he was capable of.
We were afraid of what he might do,
and I thought he was too much of a coward
ever to truly go through with,
with killing himself and others
but there was always a fear that
something horrible might happen.
There was a deathly quiet.
All the life had left Jonestown
is what it felt like to me.
I was with my wife Gloria
and my son Malcolm.
The pavilion, at this point in time,
was surrounded by security guards.
[Carter] I saw Jones in this
really heated discussion and argument,
one of them was going,
"There's gotta be a way,
"this is ridiculous, we don't just
There's gotta be a way."
Even though I'm hearing this,
there's still a part of me
that's refusing to accept it,
like he, you know,
he can't be talking about
what he's actually talking about.
I had this real schizophrenia going on
that, "Oh, my God,
he's gonna kill everybody,"
and the other part's saying,
"That's not gonna happen,
"you don't just do that,
there's got to be a way,
you just don't kill everybody."
[Jim Jones speaking]
I was horrified, I was shocked.
I just wanted like a second
to breathe, just [exhales]
"Let me figure this out."
All of a sudden, I became very calm,
it was very intellectual,
like, "What is this gonna be like to die?"
Or, "How many is it gonna take me," or
Like, you think a thousand thoughts
but, you know, it was like, "I'm dead.
"This is where I'm going to die,
"um, but I'll fight to live
but this is where I'm gonna die."
One of Jones' mistresses came up
and tapped me on the shoulder and said,
"Come here, I think I have
something for you to do.
She said, "Jim Jones
needs some help with the mission."
[Jim Jones]
I've lived for all and I'll die for all.
She said, "He's supposed to deliver
some suitcases of money
"to the Soviet Embassy in Georgetown.
Would you be willing to help?"
So, in my mind, I'm trying to buy time
because I'm still not processing this,
and while we're being asked to do this,
there's a woman standing up
in the pavilion,
um, who was saying, basically,
and I'm paraphrasing,
that "I don't wanna die.
Isn't there another way?"
[Temple member speaking]
[Jim Jones speaking]
[Temple members clamoring]
[Carter] I walked back to the pavilion,
and I saw Gloria and Malcolm.
And I wasn't counting
but this was very early on,
uh, there were maybe 20 bodies,
I mean, there were
I didn't count, I was just shocked
by what I was seeing.
[inhales and exhales]
Gloria was holding Malcolm in her arms
and agony on her face, and I mean, agony,
tears just pouring down
her face and agony
[crying] And Gloria was dying
and I took her in my arms
and I just kept on saying,
"I love you so much,
I love you so much,"
like somehow me saying that
could make things better somehow,
that she could feel it, uh
and, uh, she died in my arms.
The pain was just too much.
It was just darkness.
And after that, I, I
was beyond even thinking.
All I heard in my brain is,
"You cannot die, you cannot die,
you cannot die, you must live,
you must live, you must live."
And I left the pavilion, uh,
and I still feel guilt
about that, you know,
um, but I was,
you know, I was broken,
I was completely broken.
[Jim Jones speaking]
[Temple members clamoring]
I am the last person left alive
who was in Jonestown
while people were
beginning to be murdered.
[somber music playing]
We waited all night on that airstrip.
The pain was so excruciating,
I couldn't stand it anymore.
I had a bullet wound in my arm,
a bullet wound in my, um, lower arm.
I, my right leg was, was blown up,
I mean, from the knee, um, to the hip.
So, I was pretty resigned to
whatever was gonna happen
was gonna happen.
I know Steve Sung was calling out,
um, calling for his wife.
I just keep nightmares, up,
wake up and, you know,
and try to talk to, uh,
Jackie Speier or talk to anybody
willing to listen to me
because I couldn't sleep
and I just keep waking up
from the fear, from the pain,
and I said, "What, how do they go,
how do we get out of this place?"
I went through the, the various phases
that they say that people go through.
I mean, resentment and fear
and, and finally accepting the idea that,
yeah, I was gonna die in,
in this jungle of Guyana, you know,
and thinking to myself,
"What am I doing here?"
You know, "Why? Why? Why?"
[helicopter blades whirring in distance]
[Speier] The Guyanese army
came secure the airstrip,
and the relief was unbelievable.
Finally, we're going to
get out of here alive.
[Krause] We were gonna survive.
Everybody was like, "Oh, my God."
I mean, I, you know, the adrenaline,
uh, the rush, the, the
I mean, it was amazing.
We were evacuated by helicopter
back to Georgetown.
[Speier] In Georgetown,
there was a US medevac plane
waiting for us.
This bright, white,
shiny plane with the words
"The United States of America" on it.
And even today, it sends
chills up and down my back.
[Reiterman] I was going home.
There was, I think,
a tremendous amount of spontaneous relief.
Oh, it's a big relief. I was so surprised.
Smiling and happy.
I got on the plane.
Lots of thoughts
were going through my head.
"Why, why did this happen to us?"
I mean, I didn't know
if anybody in the world
knew what had happened.
And I thought, "Hmm, I don't wanna"
I think I'm gonna get off this thing.
I was very curious to know
what had happened in Jonestown.
The story wasn't over.
And I was right in the middle of it
and my job was to keep writing, and I did.
[newscaster] The wounded are being flown
to Washington tonight
aboard an Air Force
medical evacuation plane.
I don't think anyone
could've really imagined it
because it was a shocking story.
It was something that had
never quite happened like this before.
[dramatic closing theme music playing]
A congressman on a fact-finding trip
to the South American nation of Guyana
was ambushed, shot, and killed,
along with about 20 members of his party.
Guyana military units have been
dispatched to restore order
and to investigate.
[music continues]
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