‘Mormon Land’: Brigham Young, sea gulls, handcarts and hardships — separating myth from reality in the LDS pioneer trek

(Courtesy Utah State Historical Society) Visitors are seen at the This Is The Place monument in 1955.

This week, Utahns are celebrating the 1847 arrival of Mormon pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley.

By all accounts, the Mormon migration from Illinois to the Great Basin was a monumental journey, one that helped shape the LDS Church and the American West.

But, as with many historic events, the truth about the trek can get twisted and turned through the years. Did Brigham Young, for instance, really say “this is the right place”? Did sea gulls save crops from marauding bands of crickets? Did no handcart pioneer ever leave the faith? And who has been left out from the story?

In this special Pioneer Day edition of “Mormon Land,” LDS historian Ardis Parshall helps separate the fact from the fiction.

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