Tag Archives: #Mormons

New monument to honor Paiutes slain in Circleville Massacre

Paiutes are some of the main characters in Zane Grey’s Wild Horse Mesa. Given his relationship with Paiute individuals, I imagine he would have strong feelings about this massacre and the role of the Mormons. This article about the intended memorial tells the story of the killing of 30 Paiute men, women and children for no other reason than unfounded fear and lack of information.

By , Deseret News
Published: Thursday, April 14 2016 12:45 p.m. MDT | Updated: Thursday, April 14 2016 10:46 p.m. MDT

An artist’s rendering of a new memorial that will mark a dark but rarely mentioned moment in Utah history when Mormon settlers slaughtered as many as 30 Paiute men, women and children in the small town of Circleville 150 years ago. The monument will be dedicated April 22, 2016.; By Sunrise Engineering

A new memorial will mark a dark but rarely mentioned moment in Utah history when Mormon settlers slaughtered as many as 30 Paiute men, women and children in the small town of Circleville 150 years ago.

CIRCLEVILLE, Piute County — A new memorial will mark a dark but rarely mentioned moment in Utah history when Mormon settlers slaughtered as many as 30 Paiute men, women and children in the small town of Circleville 150 years ago.

The massacre with guns, knives and clubs happened in April 1866 during the Black Hawk War because of unfounded fears by the settlers that the Paiute Koosharem band posed a threat, even though the two groups had been friendly.

Despite being the worst atrocity committed against Native Americans in Utah, it became a hidden chapter in state history. Paiute people know little of what happened to their ancestors. Circleville residents — none of whom are original descendants of the perpetrators — don’t talk about it.

But that is changing.

The Paiute Tribal Council, Utah Division of State History, Circleville, LDS Church Historical Department, Utah Westerners and some independent historians felt compelled to recognize the victims.

On April 22 — the suspected date of the massacre — they will dedicate a monument to the slain Paiutes in Memorial Park in Circleville. It will provide a solemn place of contemplation and commemoration to honor the victims of one of Utah’s saddest episodes.

“I think it’s going to be beautiful,” said Dorena Martineau, Paiute Tribe cultural resources director. “Hopefully the remains, the spirits of our past ancestors can come to rest.”

The Paiute Tribe wrote the inscriptions for the granite monument, which in part say, “None of us can ever hope to describe the emotions that these people might have felt. All we can do is honor their existence as human beings.”

“The story here is about the victims, and it’s about the process of forgetting the victims,” said Jed Rogers, a Utah state historian. “How is that we have a tragic event that very, very few people in this state know anything about. That, to me, compounds the tragedy of Circleville.”……….

The rest of the article is on Deseret News

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Posted by on 2016-04-17 in General


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The Last of the Plainsmen (1908)

Credit: Zane Grey: From the 1911 Grosset & Dunlap edition

Credit: Zane Grey: From the 1911 Grosset & Dunlap edition

Hodder and Stoughton, 1908

In his introduction to The Last of the Plainsmen Zane Grey writes:

In the spring of 1907 I was the fortunate companion of the old plainsman on a trip across the desert, and a hunt in that wonderful country of yellow crags, deep canyons and giant pines. I want to tell about it. I want to show the color and beauty of those painted cliffs and the long, brown-matted bluebell-dotted aisles in the grand forests; I want to give a suggestion of the tang of the dry, cool air; and particularly I want to throw a little light upon the life and nature of that strange character and remarkable man, Buffalo Jones.

The San Francisco Peaks as viewed from Elden Mountain;  Credit: Tyler Finvold, 30 November 2006

The San Francisco Peaks as viewed from Elden Mountain;
Credit: Tyler Finvold, 30 November 2006

Buffalo Jones belonged to that strange set of hunters that loved hunting predators yet made certain they were alive. He was considered eccentric. One old-timer told Zane Grey:

“Say, young feller, I heerd yer couldn’t git acrost the Canyon fer the deep snow on the north rim. Wal, ye’re lucky. Now, yer hit the trail fer New York, an’ keep goin’! Don’t ever tackle the desert, ‘specially with them Mormons. They’ve got water on the brain, wusser ‘n religion. It’s two hundred an’ fifty miles from Flagstaff to Jones range, an’ only two drinks on the trail. I know this hyar Buffalo Jones. I knowed him way back in the seventies, when he was doin’ them ropin’ stunts thet made him famous as the preserver of the American bison. I know about that crazy trip of his’n to the Barren Lands, after musk-ox. An’ I reckon I kin guess what he’ll do over there in the Siwash. He’ll rope cougars—sure he will—an’ watch ’em jump. Jones would rope the devil, an’ tie him down if the lasso didn’t burn. Oh! he’s hell on ropin’ things. An’ he’s wusser ‘n hell on men, an’ hosses, an’ dogs.”

On their journey together Jones and Grey had their Mormon guides, five hounds and their horses.

The falls shown in this photograph were 28 feet high pre-1907;  Credit: H.T. Cory

The falls shown in this photograph were 28 feet high pre-1907;
Credit: H.T. Cory

Zane Grey got to experience the fear of the old version of the Colorado River (Rio Colorado).

They arrived at Jones’ ranch and Zane Grey got meet Buffalo Jones farm-hands. Jones’ farm-hands played a mustang-prank on Grey so they could test his mettle. When they went out to take a look at Jones Cattalo, the ranch-hands gave Zane Grey a frisky white mustang so he could be challenged beyond his abilities. Grey ended up calling that mustang Satan.

Cattalo;  Credit: J.H. Cano

Credit: J.H. Cano

Jones and Grey leave the ranch and continue through their adventures of trying to catch the last buffalo herd, avoid fighting with Native Americans, keeping hydrated in the desert, listening to their guides and hunting for predators.

The Last of the Plainsmen is an interesting look at the journey of two Westerners in a country that had changed irrevocably during the life of the last of the plainsmen who just happened to be one of them.

I spoke the last good-by and turned Satan into the narrow trail. When I looked back Jones stood on the rim with the fresh glow of dawn shining on his face. The trail was steep, and claimed my attention and care, but time and time again I gazed back. Jones waved his hand till a huge jutting cliff walled him from view. Then I cast my eyes on the rough descent and the wonderful void beneath me. In my mind lingered a pleasing consciousness of my last sight of the old plainsman. He fitted the scene; he belonged there among the silent pines and the yellow crags.


The Last of the Plainsmen available on Gutenberg








University of Arizona, special collections: Title page

University of Arizona, special collections: Draft ch 15

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Posted by on 2014-07-09 in Books


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The Heritage of the Desert (1910)

Credit: Galactic Central

Credit: Galactic Central

The Popular Magazine starting 15th June 1910 (5 episode serial)
Harper & Brothers, New York 1910
Zane Grey’s Western Magazine starting May 1947
Zane Grey’s Western Magazine (Australia) Dec 1949, Jan 1957, and Jan 1961 (Galactic Central)

The Heritage of the Desert is set to cirka 1878 in Arizona: Lee’s Ferry and Painted Desert (ZGWS).

The Painted Desert, Petrified Forest National Park;  Credit: Lsaldivar, 20th July 2011

The Painted Desert, Petrified Forest National Park;
Credit: Lsaldivar, 20th July 2011

John Hare is discovered dying in the desert by Mormons. Because of his settings, Zane Grey often writes about Mormons. Some of his novels are scathing in their critique of their practice of polygamy. But in general he treated them as he treated any other character in his novels. Some were creeps and others were obviously admired by him.

At the very beginning of The Heritage of the Desert we meet a group of men who happen to be Mormons. These guys were worried about helping John Hare who was obviously out to get the outlaw Dene.

“Leave him here,” said one, addressing a gray-bearded giant. “He’s the fellow sent into southern Utah to spy out the cattle thieves. He’s all but dead. Dene’s outlaws are after him. Don’t cross Dene.”

I imagine most of us can relate to not wanting to mess with the baddies. Some of the group decide to leave while August Nabb and his boys decide to save Hare from death by desert.

August Nabb’s party consisted of himself, his sons and his adopted daughter Mescal, wife and other comely women.

Sunset in White Pocket, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument;  Credit: PDTillman, 15th October 2012

Sunset in White Pocket, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument;
Credit: PDTillman, 15th October 2012

John Hare had come West for his health. He had been thought a spy. These accusations made it necessary for him to run. Hare had gotten lost and one simply does not get lost in the desert. We quickly see that the outlaws have not given up on finding him.

What Hare discovers is that the regular settlers are harried by two main parties. One of those is the Dene outlaw gang. For the most part these guys steal cattle from the ranchers in the area. Holderness steals something that the people there hold much dearer: Land.

“August, some of our young men need no one to corrupt them. Dene had no great task to win them. He rode in here with a few outlaws and now he has a strong band. We’ve got to face it. We haven’t any law, but he can be killed. Some one must kill him. Yet bad as Dene is, he doesn’t threaten our living as Holderness does. Dene steals a few cattle, kills a man here and there. Holderness reaches out and takes our springs. Because we’ve no law to stop him, he steals the blood of our life—water—water—God’s gift to the desert! Some one must kill Holderness, too!”

Not only does John Hare learn of the troubles the Mormon settlers encounter, he also learns about their faith and discovers that he is in love with Mescal. Loving Mescal is a problem because August Naab would like her to marry one of his own sons.

Painted Desert, Utah;  Credit: Eddie Lluisma

Painted Desert, Utah;
Credit: Eddie Lluisma

As with a couple of his earlier biographical works, we see Zane Grey favoring the romance genre in his writing. I find it fascinating that a man like Grey would be attracted to the romance industry. However, I have come to realize that men often wrote romance back in the day. Most of the authors on the market had male names. I don’t know what the tendency is today.

Back to The Heritage of the Desert. John Hare is very much aware of how much he owes August Nabb.

“They said I fell among thieves,” mused Hare, when he was once more alone. “I’ve fallen among saints as well.” He felt that he could never repay this August Naab. “If only I might live!” he ejaculated. How restful was this cottage garden! The green sward was a balm to his eyes. Flowers new to him, though of familiar springtime hue, lifted fresh faces everywhere; fruit-trees, with branches intermingling, blended the white and pink of blossoms. There was the soft laughter of children in the garden. Strange birds darted among the trees. Their notes were new, but their song was the old delicious monotone—the joy of living and love of spring. A green-bowered irrigation ditch led by the porch and unseen water flowed gently, with gurgle and tinkle, with music in its hurry. Innumerable bees murmured amid the blossoms.

How on earth is he supposed to resolve his obligations to Nabb, his feelings for Mescal and being wanted by Dene and possibly Holderness?

Zane Grey often anonymized real life characters. Given the timeline of the story Cap Brown is a likely candidate for the role of Dene and his gang. (Nichols) It is probable that Holderness was based on the story of the land hungry character of the cattle baron I.W. Lacy.

The expansion of Utah’s cattle industry during the 1870s and 1880s was built upon four cornerstones that included small operations throughout the state, the cattle barons–ranchers like Preston Nutter, B. F. Saunders, James W. Taylor, the Whitmores, and the McIntyres whose animals numbered in the thousands, Mormon cooperative enterprises some associated with United Orders and others such as the Bluff Pool in southeastern Utah which grew in response to outside threats by the Lacy Cattle Company to take over rangeland and control access to water and other resources, and corporate cattle companies who tapped resources in Great Britain, Pittsburgh and other eastern cities, and even Utah investors to found such companies as the Carlisle Cattle Company, the Pittsburgh Land and Livestock Company, the Webster City Cattle Company and the Ireland Cattle Company among others. (UHG)

"Herd Quitters";  By Charles Marion Russell, 1902

“Herd Quitters”;
By Charles Marion Russell, 1902

Another main character of Zane Grey’s novels becomes extremely visible in The Heritage of the Desert. This character appears in every single one of his Western Romances. In The Heritage of the Desert the name of that character is Painted Desert in Utah. On his earlier journey with Buffalo Jones, Zane Grey seemed to fall in love with the landscapes of Utah, Nevada and New Mexico. Having lived in Utah for a few years I see his point.  Grey’s writing captures the beauty of nature in a manner that even my brain manages to envision.

For Mescal was there. Far away she must be, a mere grain of sand in all that world of drifting sands, perhaps ill, perhaps hurt, but alive, waiting for him, calling for him, crying out with a voice that no distance could silence. He did not see the sharp peaks as pitiless barriers, nor the mesas and domes as black-faced death, nor the moisture-drinking sands as life-sucking foes to plant and beast and man. That painted wonderland had sheltered Mescal for a year. He had loved it for its color, its change, its secrecy; he loved it now because it had not been a grave for Mescal, but a home. Therefore he laughed at the deceiving yellow distances in the foreground of glistening mesas, at the deceiving purple distances of the far-off horizon. The wind blew a song in his ears; the dry desert odors were fragrance in his nostrils; the sand tasted sweet between his teeth, and the quivering heat-waves, veiling the desert in transparent haze, framed beautiful pictures for his eyes.

Wolf kept to the fore for some thirty paces, and though he had ceased to stop, he still looked back to see if the horse and man were following. Hare had noted the dog occasionally in the first hours of travel, but he had given his eyes mostly to the broken line of sky and desert in the west, to the receding contour of Echo Cliffs, to the spread and break of the desert near at hand. Here and there life showed itself in a gaunt coyote sneaking into the cactus, or a horned toad huddling down in the dust, or a jewel-eyed lizard sunning himself upon a stone. It was only when his excited fancy had cooled that Hare came to look closely at Wolf. But for the dog’s color he could not have been distinguished from a real wolf. His head and ears and tail drooped, and he was lame in his right front paw.

Hare halted in the shade of a stone, dismounted and called the dog to him. Wolf returned without quickness, without eagerness, without any of the old-time friendliness of shepherding days. His eyes were sad and strange. Hare felt a sudden foreboding, but rejected it with passionate force. Yet a chill remained. Lifting Wolf’s paw he discovered that the ball of the foot was worn through; whereupon he called into service a piece of buckskin, and fashioning a rude moccasin he tied it round the foot. Wolf licked his hand, but there was no change in the sad light of his eyes. He turned toward the west as if anxious to be off.

“All right, old fellow,” said Hare, “only go slow. From the look of that foot I think you’ve turned back on a long trail.”

Again they faced the west, dog leading, man following, and addressed themselves to a gradual ascent. When it had been surmounted Hare realized that his ride so far had brought him only through an anteroom; the real portal now stood open to the Painted Desert. The immensity of the thing seemed to reach up to him with a thousand lines, ridges, canyons, all ascending out of a purple gulf. The arms of the desert enveloped him, a chill beneath their warmth. (Chapter XIV. Wolf)


The Heritage of the Desert available on Gutenberg, LibriVoxas MP3











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Posted by on 2014-07-08 in Books


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Riders of the Purple Sage (1912)

Mormon polygamous family

Mormon polygamous family

Field & Stream,  January 1912 – July 1913
Grosset and Dunlap, 1912

Riders of the Purple Sage By: Greg Martin,

Riders of the Purple Sage
By: Greg Martin,

Riders of the Purple Sage was set to Southern Utah around the time of 1871. (ZGWS) At this point in time Mormons had a bad reputation, and rightly so in many instances. Polygamy was common practice among the leaders. Sometimes they would even marry the wives of “lesser” men. Whether they actually stole the wives of gentiles, I do not know.

Zane Grey was generally positive to Mormons. But when it came to their views on women and their practices with regard to polygamy he was not a fan. (Romancing the West) In fact Zane Grey considered the plural wives of mormon polygamous marriages to be the unhappiest women on the earth.

Wanted sign for patriarchsJane Withersteen’s was a Mormon woman of privilege. Her father had been Patriarch Withersteen and a fairly wealthy man. When he dies and leaves his land to Jane, she is left with more choices than quite a few widows of the time. One of those choices is to be kind to Gentiles. Some of them worked for her on her farm (Ventner) and the recently arrived gunman, Lassiter. Both try to protect Jane from the Elders of the Mormon church.

It was still daylight in the open, but under the spreading cottonwoods shadows were obscuring the lanes. Venters drew Jane off from one of these into a shrub-lined trail, just wide enough for the two to walk abreast, and in a roundabout way led her far from the house to a knoll on the edge of the grove. Here in a secluded nook was a bench from which, through an opening in the tree-tops, could be seen the sage-slope and the wall of rock and the dim lines of canyons. Jane had not spoken since Venters had shocked her with his first harsh speech; but all the way she had clung to his arm, and now, as he stopped and laid his rifle against the bench, she still clung to him.

“Jane, I’m afraid I must leave you.”

“Bern!” she cried.

“Yes, it looks that way. My position is not a happy one—I can’t feel right—I’ve lost all—”

“I’ll give you anything you—”

“Listen, please. When I say loss I don’t mean what you think. I mean loss of good-will, good name—that which would have enabled me to stand up in this village without bitterness. Well, it’s too late…. Now, as to the future, I think you’d do best to give me up. Tull is implacable. You ought to see from his intention to-day that—But you can’t see. Your blindness—your damned religion!… Jane, forgive me—I’m sore within and something rankles. Well, I fear that invisible hand will turn its hidden work to your ruin.”

“Invisible hand? Bern!”

“I mean your Bishop.” Venters said it deliberately and would not release her as she started back. “He’s the law. The edict went forth to ruin me. Well, look at me! It’ll now go forth to compel you to the will of the Church.”

“You wrong Bishop Dyer. Tull is hard, I know. But then he has been in love with me for years.”

“Oh, your faith and your excuses! You can’t see what I know—and if you did see it you’d not admit it to save your life. That’s the Mormon of you. These elders and bishops will do absolutely any deed to go on building up the power and wealth of their church, their empire. Think of what they’ve done to the Gentiles here, to me—think of Milly Erne’s fate!”

New Riders of the Purple SageLassiter is looking for his sister, Milly Erne. He fears she has been kidnapped by Mormon Elders. Sadly, he discovers that to be the truth and also discovers that she has already died. Milly Erne was lured away from her husband by Mormon Bishop Dyer. Dyer then turned her over to Withersteen who tied her up and raped her until she became pregnant with his child. Millie was then hidden away with the other wives of Patriarch Withersteen.

Jealousy and greed always looks for an excuse to do what is “right”. Elder Tull wants both Jane and her farm, but she does not want him. You all know that he is not going to be happy about Jane refusing him. The elders decide to use nefarious methods to carry out their goal and they do seem to succeed for a while. Gradually they frighten away most of her cowboys, and rustlers steal away her cattle, but the gunman Lassiter stands by her as the inevitable confrontation draws near.


Riders of the Purple Sage on Gutenberg





  • 1924: Purppurarinteiden ratsastajat (Finnish)
  • 1924: Den sorte rytter (Norwegian)
  • 1924: Purpurviddernas ryttare (Swedish)
  • 1930: Das Gesetz der Mormonen (German)
  • 1932: La valle delle sorprese (Italian)
  • 2008: Librivox recording
  • 1976: Lassiter (Italian)





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Posted by on 2014-07-05 in Books


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The Rainbow Trail (Withersteen 2) (unabridged: The Desert Crucible) (1915)

Rainbow Bridge - Surprise Valley - Utah

Rainbow Bridge National Monument, Utah Surprise Valley

The Argosy May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep 1915
Field & Stream Magazine, 1915
Harper & Brothers, New York, 1915

The Desert Cruicible was originally published in the Argosy magazine and the Field & Stream magazine in 1915. The original novel title was the much edited version The Rainbow Trail, a title that was kept until 2004 when it was restored once again as The Desert Crucible. The Rainbow Trail is set to about 1886 in the Tsegi Canyon in Arizona and the Rainbow Bridge in Utah. (ZGWS)

Before Anglos came to the area in the middle of the 19th century, Rainbow Bridge and Navajo Mountain were claimed by Navajos, San Juan Southern Paiutes, and Hopis as part of their aboriginal homeland. The area was also on the fringe of territory claimed by numerous Native American tribes from southwestern Colorado. But with the Treaty of Bosque Redondo in 1868, the United States government was thrown into the mix of claimants on Rainbow Bridge. The status of the territory surrounding the bridge, an area referred to as the Paiute Strip, was in flux from the moment the Bosque Redondo treaty created the Navajo reservation. Even after the declaration of Rainbow Bridge NM, the status of the surrounding environs was not settled. (Rainbow Bridge)

Credit: Galactic Central

Credit: Galactic Central

The Rainbow Trail/Desert Crucible  is considered a sequel to Riders of the Purple Sage. One of the main differences between the The Rainbow Trail and The Desert Crucible lies in the changing laws of the times. At that point polygamy was outlawed by the US Government. Therefore, the fact that Fay Larkin was forced into a sealed marriage as a plural wife to a Mormon man was downplayed in The Rainbow Trail. Zane Grey was vehement in his criticism of the Mormons who kidnapped gentile girls, then forced them into marriage and basically raped them. I agree completely with him and his criticism.

What he shows us is the way it was for a great deal of polygamist women of the time (The 19th Wife). Shepperd gets a job delivering goods to a village of about 50 women, all said to be sealed wives of mormon men. Due to the outlawing of the practice of polygamy the Mormon men felt the need to hide the reality of their marriages. Finding out about this village could turn out to be a dangerous thing for Shepperd. As it turns out later in The Rainbow Trail the Mormon leaders were correct in worrying about the safety of their secret villages. With the law in hand, the US authorities set out to put an end to what they saw as an evil practice. In fact some of the younger generations of Mormons were also beginning to see the practice of polygamy as evil.

Through the character of Mary we are shown what happens when the Stockholm Syndrome begins to hit. This is a period of time in Mormon history that Mormons have an obligation to be ashamed of. As a formed Mormon myself, I do indeed feel some of that shame and even greater shame in later attempts of hiding what was done to these young girls.

The Rainbow Bridge becomes a character in Zane Grey’s story due to its story and beauty. If not for being declared a national monument by Thomas Roosevelt in 1910, this natural wonder would have become immersed in the waters of another dam project. According to Lorne Grey, the character of Nas-Ta-Bega was based on the Acute guide that took Zane Grey to the bridge in 1910. (Foreword to Desert Crucible)

Mormons baptising indians

A baptism of North American Indians – Mormons posing as the apostles of Christianity, 1882. Credit: Library of Congress


When it comes to the treatment of Native Americans the Mormons were like any other missionary belief. They wanted to convince the Native Americans that what they believed was wrong and that the Mormon belief was correct. The discrimination was the same. The settlers accepted indian aid when that was needed and persecuted the Native Americans when the Mormons wanted what the Native Americans had – including their women and children. So, no difference.

The blurb on The Rainbow Trail reads:

Originally published in 1915, The Rainbow Trail is the sequel to Riders of the Purple Sage (also a Bison Book). At the end of that famous novel, a huge boulder had rolled down to shut off the entrance to Surprise Valley, leaving Lassiter, Jane Withersteen, and little Fay Larkin to a singular fate. Twenty years later a lanky Illinois preacher named John Shefford, disillusioned with the narrow-mindedness of his congregation, appears in Arizona. At a “sealed-wife” village, where Mormons hide the practice of polygamy from the federal government, he picks up the trail of the grown-up Fay. Thus begins an exciting story of captivity, treachery, and last-minute escape.

The blurb on The Desert Crucible reads:

The collapse of one of the stone walls of Surprise Valley, which has imprisoned gunman Lassiter, Jane Withersteen, and young Fay Larkin for ten years, results in their capture by a hooded Mormon. Then Lassiter and Jane are offered a deal: their lives in exchange for the immediate marriage of Fay Larkin to the mysterious, cruel, Mormon leader. This unforgettable story can at last be read just as Zane Grey wrote it, without the editorial cuts made to the original publication.

 Outlet_of_Surprize_sic_Valley_Colorado_RiverJim Shefford, Jane Withersteen, Ventner, Lassiter and Fay Larkin once again become the characters we get to meet most often. There is plenty of action and many descriptions of nature in either version. If I was going to purchase/get hold of this novel now, I would go for The Desert Crucible – the one that the publishers considered too controversial for its times.

“What’ll they do to Ruth?” demanded Shefford. “We can’t accept her sacrifice if she’s to suffer—or be punished.”

“Reckon Ruth has a strong hunch that she can get away with it. Did you notice how strange she said that? Well, they can’t do much to her. The bishop may damn her soul. But—Ruth—”

Here Lake hesitated and broke off. Not improbably he had meant to say that of all the Mormon women in the valley Ruth was the least likely to suffer from punishment inflicted upon her soul.

“Anyway, it’s our only chance,” went on Joe, “unless we kill a couple of men. Ruth will gladly take what comes to help you.”

“All right; I consent,” replied Shefford, with emotion. “And now after she comes out—the supposed Ruth—what then?”

“You can be natural-like. Go with her back to Ruth’s cabin. Then stroll off into the cedars. Then climb the west wall. Meanwhile Nas Ta Bega will ride off with a pack of grub and Nack-yal and several other mustangs. He’ll wait for you or you’ll wait for him, as the case may be, at some appointed place. When you’re gone I’ll jump my horse and hit the trail for Kayenta and the San Juan.”

“Very well; that’s settled,” said Shefford, soberly. “I’ll go at once to see Ruth. You and Nas Ta Bega decide on where I’m to meet him.”

“Reckon you’d do just as well to walk round and come up to Ruth’s from the other side—instead of going through the village,” suggested Joe.

Shefford approached Ruth’s cabin in a roundabout way; nevertheless, she saw him coming before he got there and, opening the door, stood pale, composed, and quietly bade him enter. Briefly, in low and earnest voice, Shefford acquainted her with the plan.

“You love her so much,” she said, wistfully, wonderingly.

“Indeed I do. Is it too much to ask of you to do this thing?” he asked.

“Do it?” she queried, with a flash of spirit. “Of course I’ll do it.”

“Ruth, I can’t thank you. I can’t. I’ve only a faint idea what you’re risking. That distresses me. I’m afraid of what may happen to you.”

She gave him another of the strange glances. “I don’t risk so much as you think,” she said, significantly.


She came close to him, and her hands clasped his arms and she looked up at him, her eyes darkening and her face growing paler. “Will you swear to keep my secret?” she asked, very low.

“Yes, I swear.”

“I was one of Waggoner’s sealed wives!”

“God Almighty!” broke out Shefford, utterly overwhelmed.

“Yes. That’s why I say I don’t risk so much. I will make up a story to tell the bishop and everybody. I’ll tell that Waggoner was jealous, that he was brutal to Mary, that I believed she was goaded to her mad deed, that I thought she ought to be free. They’ll be terrible. But what can they do to me? My husband is dead… and if I have to go to hell to keep from marrying another married Mormon, I’ll go!”


The Rainbow Trail on Gutenberg

The Desert Crucible on Kindle








Making It Work: Monument Development, 1910-1955

The 19th Wife

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Posted by on 2014-07-01 in Books


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