When Orrin Porter Rockwell died of a heart attack in 1878, his name was as well known as Brigham Young's. Cowboys sang songs about him, and newspapers had frequently printed scandalous accounts about the malicious Mormon "destroying angel." But to many, Rockwell was a guardian angel, and it could be easily said he saved far more lives than he took. It seems history tells two contrasting narratives about one of the West's most controversial men. Yes, at times Porter Rockwell could act violently, yet he was overly generous to those in need. At least two dozen peopled died at his hand, yet in every instance, he was exonerated. As the ninth person baptized into the restored Church, Porter was central to the early growth of the Church, even though he was never called to positions of leadership. He was called a saint and a sinner, a lawman and a criminal, a hero and a villain. Indians feared him, saying he was impossible to kill, but some people traveled hundreds of miles to try. Although his death by natural causes likely disappointed the many outlaws seeking his life, it also fulfilled a prophecy given by Joseph Smith that no bullet or blade would ever harm Porter Rockwell.
A friend of Joseph Smith's since childhood and later his bodyguard, Porter saved the life of the Prophet more than once. Porter also served as a bodyguard to Brigham Young and helped guide the first pioneers across the plains to the Salt Lake Valley. He became a legend as a frontiersman, a marksman, and a man of iron nerve. And though may outsiders characterized Porter Rockwell as a notorious, vengeful murderer, those who knew him saw him as a protector, a miraculous healer, and a loyal friend.
About the Authors
John W. Rockwell has spent his life teaching students history, especially U.S. history and history of the Wild West. He taught in Duchesne, Utah, and then in Taylorsville, Utah, at Eisenhower Junior High and Taylorsville High School for most of his career. He received the Distinguished Faculty Award from the National Honors Society in 2008. John has also worked on the Lehi City Historical Preservation Commission and has been involved in historical restoration and preservation projects throughout Lehi, Utah. John served an LDS mission in Mexico and has followed his ancestor Porter’s footsteps with a lifelong service in the Church.
Jerry Borrowman is an award-winning author of historical fiction and coauthored biography. He and Rudi Wobbe won the prestigious National Award from the Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge for sharing Rudi’s true-life experiences in Three Against Hitler. A number of his books, including A Distant Prayer with Joseph Banks and ’Til the Boys Come Home, are LDS best-sellers. Jerry has been featured in a number of DVD presentations, including Stories from the Life of Orrin Porter Rockwell, as well as in television and radio interviews.
Couldn't put it down.
by Carol - reviewed on September 28, 2010
Porter is of legend status in L.D.S. history. I found the authors to have written a book that people of many ages can enjoy reading.
Quick to read, showed both sides to many stories, fell in love with Orrin Porter Rockwell
by DEEANNA - reviewed on September 14, 2014
I enjoyed the relaxed writing style. I found the authors allowed me to decide about Porter and his actions by an unbiased presentation of the facts. I enjoyed seeing Our Prophet Joseph Smith through Porter's eyes and the History of the Church. Thank you for wrting this. Dee
by Customer - reviewed on July 01, 2010
This book was a fast read, stories that have been written in other books. A great fan of Rockwell but this was disappointing, was hoping for new stories.
Good read, some errors
by Rachelle - reviewed on August 02, 2010
From my personal knowledge of church history, I noticed some inconsistencies with dates, etc. Some typos but minor. Wonderful insights into Rockwell's interesting life stories.
Could have been a lot better
by Customer - reviewed on September 08, 2010
The title is exciting. Good cover. But, this was the hardest book to get through. Lots of grammar mistakes. It read like the book was written in just a week or two. I would like to see the book rewritten by a professional author.