Cover image for Blood of the prophets : Brigham Young and the massacre at Mountain Meadows
Blood of the prophets : Brigham Young and the massacre at Mountain Meadows
Bagley, Will, 1950-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Norman : University of Oklahoma Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xxiv, 493 pages, 32 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 26 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F826 .B13 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The author peels back the lid on one of the worst secrets of the Mormon settlement of Utah--the massacre of a wagon train by Mormon militiamen and their Native American allies at lowland creek called Mountain Meadows. (History).

Author Notes

Will Bagley is an independent historian and columnist for The Salt Lake Tribune

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

In 1950, Utah historian Juanita Brooks stunned the Mormon community when she published The Mountain Meadows Massacre, a detailed and careful history of LDS involvement in the 1857 slaughter of an emigrant party from Arkansas headed for California. She argued that Mormons had instigated the attack and then covered up the bloodshed with a vow of secrecy. However, based on the available evidence in the 1940s, her research did not indicate that Brigham Young, the president of the Church, had ordered the attack. Enter this account by Salt Lake Tribune columnist Bagley, who draws respectfully from Brooks's work and also unpublished diaries, letters and other documents to raise the ultimate question: "What did Brigham Young know, and when did he know it?" In this meticulously researched and well-argued book, Bagley provides ample evidence to demonstrate that Young was at least an accessory after the fact, who led the effort at a coverup and eventually scapegoated John D. Lee, a massacre participant who was executed in 1877. Bagley's book presents some new and fascinating source material: accounts by the Paiutes who participated in the attack, memories of the young children who survived it and, most interestingly, the voices of those Mormon objectors who refused to cooperate in the massacre or who dared to break the silence about it afterward. Bagley also does a fine job of situating the massacre within the context of the Mormon Reformation, a short but intense period of fundamentalist zealotry. Although it's not flawless, this study will, like Brooks's, stand the test of time as a reflective and well-researched history of Mormonism's darkest hour. (Sept.) Forecast: There has been a burst of recent interest in the atrocity, including Sally Denton's American Massacre (coming from Knopf) and Judith Freeman's novel Red Water (Pantheon, Jan. 2002). In May, three historians employed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced their own plans to do a full-scale interpretive history of the subject, tentatively titled Tragedy at Mountain Meadows (Oxford, 2003). After that book's publication next year, all relevant documents owned by the Church will be made available to the public for the first time, so there may be still more interpretations in the offing. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In 1857, over 100 men, women, and children in a wagon train from Arkansas were murdered in southern Utah by local settlers aided by Southern Paiute warriors. For 50 years, Mormon historian Juanita Brooks's The Mountain Meadows Massacre has been the standard work on the subject. Here, independent historian and Salt Lake Tribune columnist Bagley claims only to extend Brooks's work. But by using documents not available to Brooks and by following her example in pursuing the truth wherever it led him while not going beyond the available evidence, he confirms her private opinion that territorial Mormon leader and governor Brigham Young was heavily involved in both the massacre and its cover-up. In the process, Bagley has produced the new standard work on the massacre. This well-written and well-thought-out analysis is essential for all libraries with collections on the West or the Mormons.-Stephen H. Peters, Northern Michigan Univ. Lib., Marquette (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. XI
List of Mapsp. XII
Prefacep. XIII
Acknowledgmentsp. XXI
Prologue: The Mountain Meadowp. 3
1 Their Innocent Blood Will Cry unto the Lord of Hostsp. 6
2 The Battle-Ax of the Lordp. 23
3 Political Hacks, Robbers, and Whoremongersp. 38
4 The Arkansas Travelersp. 55
5 I Will Fight Them and I Will Fight All Hellp. 73
6 We Are American Citizens and Shall Not Movep. 95
7 The Knife and Tomahawkp. 123
8 The Work of Deathp. 140
9 The Scene of Blood and Carnagep. 156
10 Plunderp. 171
11 All Hell Is in Commotionp. 188
12 They Have Slain My Childrenp. 208
13 Vengeance Is Minep. 225
14 A Hideous Lethargic Dreamp. 248
15 Lonely Dellp. 268
16 As False as the Hinges of Hell: The Trials of John D. Leep. 287
17 He Died Game: The Execution of John D. Leep. 307
18 The Mountain Meadow Dogsp. 323
19 Nothing but the Truth Is Good Enoughp. 348
Epilogue: The Ghosts of Mountain Meadowsp. 365
Appendix Victims of the Massacrep. 385
Notesp. 391
Bibliographyp. 447
Indexp. 475