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MrShorty

Mormon Outlaws by Kathryn Jenkins Gordon

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Full title: Butch Cassidy and other Mormon Outlaws of the Old West

Don't quite remember how I came across this book, but it was at the library, I was intrigued, so I picked it up.

It is a short book with a little bit of history and short biographical sketches on a handful of outlaws who were also members of the LDS church. Butch Cassidy is obviously most well known. Along with his biography, the book includes biographies of Matt Warner, Elza Lay, Tom McCarty, David Lant, and Orrin Porter Rockwell.

It seemed well written, with an attitude of trying to be fair to the available historical evidence. I obviously am in no position to critique the research or other evidences used to come up with these biographies. With appropriate skepticism for any inaccuracies that may be present, it was an enjoyable read, and intriguing to consider what led these men into lives of crime and how they managed to succeed in their chosen paths.

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Porter Rockwell was actually a US Marshall out in the old west. He was a very rough member, who was imprisoned on a few occasions prior to moving out west. He was Joseph Smith and Brigham Young's body guard on many occasions.

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I would agree -- including Porter Rockwell in a book about "outlaws" was a little bit of a stretch. It seemed that his only real claim to the title of "outlaw" was from the allegations that he was involved in the attempted assassination of Gov. Boggs (he was apparently acquitted of the charges). Other than that, it seems that he was mostly on the lawman side of the law rather than an outlaw.

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LOL. This is one of the nicer things about a newish religion. If some poor sot tried to write a book about Catholic or Buddhist outlaws... It would be too heavy to lift, and possibly need a ladder.

Q

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