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Friday, May 20, 2011

No Story More Compelling: The Willie and Martin Handcart Companies and their Sweetwater Rescue


Pulling handcarts was never an easy way for pioneers to travel west. The Martin and Willie Handcart companies had it especially hard. Caught in early snows, dozens died. Their sufferings were as horrendous as their rescue was miraculous.


For the first time, the story of these two legendary handcart companies has been made into a movie. I'm hoping the latest offering by T. C. Christensen entitled 17 Miracles will be as compelling as two of my favorites he's done: Only a Stonecutter and Treasure in Heaven: The John Tanner Story. If this new offering is as good as these, it will be well worth seeing.


See the official web site, a KSL story (video embedded below), the YouTube video (embedded above), Facebook page and the IMDB site for more information.

Video Courtesy of KSL.com
There are a number of good resources on the story. In the Ensign there is "Heroes in the Snow—The Martin Handcart Company" by Britney Schetselaar from November 2006 and "Go and Bring Them In" by Larene Porter Gaunt and Linda Dekker from December 2006. President James E. Faust addressed it in his talk, "A Priceless Heritage" in July 2002. Don't miss the Church History Museum Exhibit entitled, "Willie & Martin Remembered: A Tribute to the Mormon Handcart Pioneers" and the radio program from Legacy #49 "Sweetwater Rescue." See a prior post for historical records of the companies.


A documentary chronicling the rescue entitled, "Sweetwater Rescue: The Willie and Martin Handcart Story" was made in 2006. It is available on BYUTV and I have it embedded below. Enjoy

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