“Tongue nor pen can ever tell the sorrow,” says a heartbreaking film on the tragic 1856 Mormon handcart disaster at the Handcart Historic Site near Rawlins, Wyoming operated by the Mormon Church. When Mormons fled Illinois in 1844 after the murder of their founder, Joseph Smith, they were brought west by new prophet Brigham Young, who founded Salt Lake City in Utah Territory. He promised an opportunity to build a wonderful new life without religious persecution. At first, converts came by wagon trains, but many couldn’t afford that cost, so Young came up with the idea of handcarts—people would pull their own wooden carts almost a thousand miles from Iowa or Nebraska to Salt Lake City. Hundreds answered the call, including many converts from Europe. And it worked, until 1856 when two companies left Nebraska in August, way too late to get through Wyoming before winter set in, The converts in the Martin and Willie Handcart Companies got as far as Devil’s Gate in the Sweetwater Valley of Wyoming Territory. The lucky ones froze to death. The unlucky ones starved to death. Children watched their parents die and parents watched their children perish. A thousand people started out and over 200 died. Brigham Young wasn’t aware these two units were still out there until it was too late. He save those he could, but canceled all future handcart travel after that.
In This Issue:
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- Cowboy Artists Celebrate 50 Years
- Arresting Doc Holliday
- How did the frontier military travel?
- Western Events for October 2015
- Wyatt Earp in Hollywood
- Taste of the West
- Big Brims
- Wells Fargo Messenger Turned Celebrity
- Climax Jim Chews on the Evidence
- The Legendary Crook’s Trail
- Mary Doria Russell
- The Wild Kingdom on the Santa Fe Trail
- Who Was J. Frank Dalton?
- The Standoff
- Silent Death
- Moonlighting Lawmen
- In Search of the Old West with an English Cowboy
- Queen of the Western Gamblers
- Wildfires on the Prairie
- I cowboyed with a man named John Tisdale in Wyoming in my youth. Didn’t a man by that name get killed in the Johnson County War?
- 360 Degrees of Death
- A Seedy Business
- The Italian Indian
- When the Western Waned
- Ben Thompson’s Signed and Stained Photograph
- Into the West
- The Ultimate Sorrow
- Black Hills Adventure
- Wickenburg’s Western Ways
- The Whitman Massacre
- How many of the regular cast of Gunsmoke are still alive today?
- Trailblazing History
- Bat Masterson, Foreigner and Lawman
- A Lion in Arizona’s Wild Rim Country
- Do any accounts exist of tornadoes destroying settlements, wagon trains or Indian villages in the Old West?
- A Madam’s Life Story
- Lawman-Author Monty McCord Shoots Straight on Best Books
- Wanda the Wonderful
- Wall of Flame
- The Twice-Hanged, Headless Hooch
- The Western Real and Imagined
- California’s Clara Barton
- A Gutsy Winter Soldier
- Were members of the James-Younger Gang drunk when they robbed the bank in Northfield, Minnesota?
- Buckeye Gets Burned
- The Bandit Who Wouldn’t Give Up
- Custer Cemetery Champion
- The First “Shooting Star” of the Silver Screen
- A Slap in the Face and a Bullet in the Head
- Longmire’s Vengeance Ride
- From Slave to Philanthropist
- B.S. at the O.K. Corral
- 1916: Wilson’s Border War
- Gunfight at Saucelito Valley
- A Loser and His Park
- The Long Fight to Become a State
- Shot Down In A Blaze of Gory. Yes, Gory.
- Is This Doc Holliday?