Mormon Film 'The Saratov Approach' Details Idahoan's 1998 Kidnapping

Dec 6, 2013

Corbin Allred and Maclain Nelson play missionaries Travis Tuttle and Andrew Propst in 'The Saratov Approach.'

A new movie tells the story of two Mormon missionaries who were kidnapped and held for ransom in Saratov, Russia in 1998. 'The Saratov Approach' details what Andrew Propst and Travis Tuttle went through.

The film opened in theaters throughout the West this fall. Because of it’s success, managers at Boise’s Edwards 22 Theaters have extended the movie’s run until at least December 12.

Propst, who lives in Meridian, says the ordeal started when a stranger approached the missionaries after an LDS church service. The young man said he wanted to hear more about the church and invited the young Americans to his apartment later that week.

Tuttle was thrilled with the opportunity. But three days later on the walk to the apartment, Propst told his partner he was concerned. And with good reason.

“We went inside, we started to take off our coats, and our hats and our shoes,” Propst says. “And as I bent over to untie one shoe…I got hit on the back of the head by a bat.”

The two missionaries were being kidnapped. They were held - blindfolded and handcuffed – as the kidnappers demanded $300,000 in ransom. The LDS Church refused to pay.

The Mormons initially devised a plan to attack their kidnappers and kill them if necessary. They ended up trying a different approach: trying to befriend their kidnappers. It worked. The captors released the young men after five days.

Today, Propst runs a property management company in the Treasure Valley. He says it’s been surreal to see his story told on the big screen.

“The first time I saw it, I definitely watched it at arm’s length,” he says. “The second time I just bawled like a baby. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s a really rewarding feeling because some of the life lessons and the messages that we took out of the experience are able to be shared on a mass scale. That’s what’s really exciting about this film.”

Copyright 2013 Boise State Public Radio