The true story of the famous Mormon leader, Brigham Young and his battle to transport his people across the Rocky mountains to settle in Salt Lake City. The plot focuses on two of his ... See full summary »
The true story of the famous Mormon leader, Brigham Young and his battle to transport his people across the Rocky mountains to settle in Salt Lake City. The plot focuses on two of his people, Jonathan Kent and Zina Webb and the hardships they have to face along the way. Written by
Col Needham <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Mormons like myself generally love this movie for three reasons: 1) It does not persecute us; 2) It shows the historic significance of the Mormon movement; 3) The film itself is superbly acted and directed.
HOWEVER, there are some major historical inaccuracies. For one thing, Joseph Smith never got a trial. He was murdered in jail by a mob of nearly 200. He turned himself in, despite false charges, in order to prevent a battle between the persecuting mobs and the persecuted Mormons. The young (pre-ghoulish)Vincent Price does a good job portraying the humble and kind Joseph Smith. For the most part, Dean Jagger portrays Brigham Young wonderfully. However, he was not in Illinois when Joseph and Hyrum Smith were martyred. He was serving a mission in Boston. But he and Joseph had long discussed that they would one day go to the Rockies, and that Brigham (an Apostle) would one day replace Joseph as Prophet.
The film, for dramatic purposes, portrays Brigham as struggling for inspiration and revelation. All historic accounts of him reveal that he was one of the most inspired religious and social leaders of all time, and that he had perfect confidence in what he was doing.
There is also an overemphasis on desenters within the thousands of Mormons who went west to Utah. There were some, but the majority loved Brother Brigham and felt inspired in what they were doing, which was leaving to build a home for peace and religious freedom.
Also, the Mormons did not flee the day Joseph Smith was killed, nor did they leave in a hail of bullets. It was nearly two years before they actually left Illinois for Utah. They were also not a scruffy bunch as portrayed by a few of the actors, but for the most part were refined and benevolent people, not given to rowdiness.
Despite all this, you still find the film on sale in Mormon bookstores.This is because it is overall a well-made film about an important part of America's make-up. By the way, Dean Jagger became a Mormon later in life. Actor Moroni Olson was a Mormon all his life, born in Utah, appearing in 100 feature films.
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