The end of it all is steeped in American lore: In 1978, more than 900 members of Peoples Temple committed mass suicide under instructions from their preacher Jim Jones. However, the road that led up to this horrific event is not so well known. Founded in the mid-1950's, Peoples Temple traversed the country before fleeing an increasingly skeptical American public to South America. It was a church where thousands found love and acceptance, as well as a welcoming, progressive environment that seemed to contrast sharply with the divisions threatening society at the time. In Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple, director Stanley Nelson deploys an impressive collection of audio and video footage (including never-before-seen clips and present-day interviews) that evokes the true flavor of Peoples Temple. The film shows how Jones worked the believers into delirium, and isolated Peoples Temple in a vacuum of paranoia and suspicion before giving his followers his final, deadly orders. For decades, people have tried to understand just what could make hundreds of ordinary, rational people walk down a path towards insanity and suicide. Nelson, by using Jones' own sermons along with footage shot on the actual day of the largest mass suicide in modern history, seeks to clarify that mystery. Jonestown recreates every step of their tragic downfall.