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Part 5 - Porter Rockwell: Legends of the Old West



In Episode 5 of 6 in a series on Orrin Porter Rockwell that I wrote for Legends of the Old West, we delve into the tragic events of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, one of the darkest chapters in American history. On September 11, 1857, a peaceful emigrant group from Arkansas and Missouri, known as the Baker-Fancher party, found themselves in a dire situation. As they camped at Mountain Meadows, they were unaware of the escalating tensions between the Mormon settlers and the impending arrival of a U.S. Army expedition. Mountain Meadows, a high-altitude valley with lush grass, wildflowers, and natural springs, provided an idyllic and tranquil setting.


Surrounded by rugged mountains and steep canyons, it seemed like a perfect oasis for the weary travelers to rest, water their animals, and enjoy a brief respite from their long journey. Children played in the fields, and the sounds of laughter and song filled the evenings, creating a stark contrast to the turmoil brewing just beyond their peaceful encampment.


The massacre’s aftermath saw a prolonged quest for justice, hindered by a web of deception and misattributed blame. Efforts to investigate and hold those responsible were stymied by the outbreak of the Civil War and the close-knit nature of the pioneer Mormon community, which sought to shield its members from retribution. The true extent of the church's involvement remained a point of contention among historians, with debates centering on the roles of Brigham Young and other church leaders. It wasn't until nearly two decades later that key figures like John D. Lee faced legal consequences for their roles in the massacre. This episode explores the complexities of frontier justice, the interplay of religious and political loyalties, and the enduring legacy of one of the Old West's most haunting events.


🎧 Listen now to "Massacre at Mountain Meadows" on your favorite podcast platform.


Available on Spotify:



And Apple Podcasts:




All of Legends of the Old West's podcasts are available at:


Texas Jack: America's First Cowboy Star by Matthew Kerns is available at:



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