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LDS missionaries kidnapped in Russia: Ordeal made into a movie

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PHOENIX -

It was a frightening ordeal for a pair of Mormon missionaries working overseas in Russia in 1998. They were kidnapped and held for ransom.

The two men eventually made it back home safely, but now their story has been turned into a movie.

Travis Tuttle was a 20-year-old from Gilbert on his LDS mission in Russia when he and fellow missionary Andrew Propst were kidnapped and held for a $300,000 ransom.

"And immediately you know you're anticipating the worst. We've all seen the movies we know how it ends right? You don't get the money, you finish these guys off," says Tuttle.

Their experience has been made into a movie called "The Saratov Approach."

Trailer: "Please God help us. We have to try something. Where are you going my friend?"

Travis says the nightmare started when the two missionaries went to an apartment to meet with a man and talk about the church. He says the movie depicts exactly what happened next.

"They came out and they jumped us and they beat us both in the heads with bats. And we fell down to the ground."

"Within seconds they had us face down in the kitchen with guns to our heads. And you know, it was downhill from there," says Tuttle.

For five days Travis and Andrew were held captive in a small dirty room, handcuffed to each other.

They spoke Russian and tried to get on their captors' good side.

"Our whole goal in the entire time we were there was to make them our friends. And we just had the attitude that it's harder to kill your friends than your enemies."

On the fifth day, with no ransom paid, the kidnappers drove them to a snow covered field and let them go.

"We were dirty, we were beat up, we were tired, we were in a lot of pain still from the beatings -- but it was the sweetest moment experiencing life when essentially you should have been dead."

Travis and Andrew spent a month in Germany after the kidnapping before going to England to complete their mission.

Their kidnappers were arrested. One got two years' probation, the other sentenced to four years in prison.

The movie will be in theaters on October 9th.

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