Sweetwater Rescue: The Willie and Martin Handcart Story

by Heidi S. Swinton

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Product Description

It was a journey to a new promised land in the American West. One hundred fifty years ago, thousands of emigrants found themselves walking thirteen hundred miles from Iowa to Salt Lake City. Carting their meager possessions in hastily built two-wheeled wagons that looked much like shallow, oversized wheelbarrows, the travelers pulled and pushed their handcarts—now a symbol of the early Mormon pioneers’ dedication to God.

The handcart pioneers began the trek in high spirits, even though it meant fourteen or fifteen weeks of walking—regardless of age or health. But for the ill-fated Willie and Martin handcart companies, a late start stretched their pilgrimage weeks longer, and the human costs proved to be higher than anyone could have expected. Early harsh winter weather, hunger, fatigue, and illness dictated that many would not live through the journey. The survivors could only pray for a miracle.

And that miracle came—men with the same faith in the Almighty, who risked their lives to save the almost one thou- sand converts and bring them to Zion. Traveling with provisions hundreds of miles through freezing temperatures and fierce snowstorms, the rescuers’ effort called for more than grit and tenacity; it demanded experience, sacrifice, compassion, faith, and ingenuity.

Dramatic and powerful, with nearly seventy paintings created for this book, Sweetwater Rescue: The Willie and Martin Handcart Story is real-life history presented in absorbing prose and images. It is the saga of the rescued and their rescuers, the story of people who earned the title “Saints.”

About the Author

Heidi S. Swinton

Heidi S. Swinton is an award-winning author and screenwriter whose works include the PBS documentaries American Prophet; Sacred Stone; Sweetwater Rescue; Trail of Hope; and America’s Choir. She has served on the Relief Society general board and as a member of Church writing committees. She is the author of President Thomas S. Monson’s biography, To the Rescue. She served with her husband, Jeffrey C. Swinton, as he presided over the England London South Mission (2006–2009); they are the parents of five sons, four living, and have four daughters-in-law and six grandchildren.

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