There was a coverup in the aftermath of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. However, it didn’t involve Brigham Young and the institutional church. The tragic story of the massacre’s aftermath is now available in a new book published by Rick Turley and Barbara Jones Brown. In this interview, they explain the complicated responses in the decades following the Mountain Meadows Massacre.
Belle Harris was one of very few women to serve time in prison and to keep a journal in 19th century Utah. Her crime was not testifying against her polygamous ex-husband during a time when the United States was attacking the Latter-day Saint principle of plural marriage introduced Joseph Smith. In this interview, Ken Adkins discusses the Prison Journal of Belle Harris.
George Q. Cannon had complicated relationship with his son, Frank. At one point, George Q. wanted nothing to do with his rebellious son. At another, he viewed Frank as a key negotiator on behalf of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In this interview, biographer Val Holley expounds on the complex dynamic between Frank J. Cannon and George Q. Cannon.
John Milton Bernhisel had an outsized influence on the early history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was a loyal friend to Joseph Smith, negotiated with the federal government on behalf of the Latter-day Saints, and had a hot-and-cold relationship with Brigham Young. In this interview, biographer Bruce W. Worthen tells the story of John Bernhisel and the Latter-day Saints.
One of many little-known facts about Brigham Young is that he established a pioneer mail system. It was called the Brigham Young Express and Carrying Company, and included a “swift pony express” that predated the legendary Pony Express by several years. In this interview, Devan Jensen explains that the company was a contributing factor to the Utah War—and that it could have transformed the American West if not stopped by the federal government.
Jim Bridger is one of the most influential figures in the history of the American West. A new biography by Jerry Enzler sheds light on key events from Bridger’s life, including the mountain man’s interactions with Brigham Young and his role (or lack thereof) in the Donner Party’s demise. Enzler even tries to tell truth from fiction by examining the legend of Hugh Glass and the bear recounted in The Revenant.
Winter Quarters played a key role in the pioneer exodus of the Latter-day Saints. As many as one thousand pioneers died during the settlement’s temporary existence. It was also there that Brigham Young received his only canonized revelation. In this interview, Richard Bennett, president of the Mormon Trail Center at Winter Quarters, discusses the history and legacy of Winter Quarters.
Marcus Whitman was a missionary in the 19th century who played an important role in the development of the American West. He and his wife, Narcissa Whitman, have been revered since perishing in an 1847 Indian attack. But the story isn’t what it seems. Blaine Harden tells the startling account as he expounds on his latest book, Murder at the Mission: A Frontier Killing, Its Legacy of Lies, and the Taking of the American West.
Historian Richard W. Etulain is a specialist in history and literature of the American West, and the author of Thunder in the West: The Life and Legends of Billy the Kid. His book is one of several contributions by the press to unique scholarship about the American West, such as Jerry Enzler’s account of Jim Bridger and Brigham Young.