Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows” as Want to Read:
Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  261 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
The massacre at Mountain Meadows on September 11, 1857, was the single most violent attack on a wagon train in the thirty-year history of the Oregon and California trails. Yet it has been all but forgotten. Will Bagley’s Blood of the Prophets is an award-winning, riveting account of the attack on the Baker-Fancher wagon train by Mormons in the local militia and a few Paiut ...more
Paperback, 544 pages
Published September 1st 2004 by University of Oklahoma Press (first published 2002)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Blood of the Prophets, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Blood of the Prophets

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret AtwoodThe Crucible by Arthur MillerThe Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel HawthorneStolen Innocence by Elissa WallUnder the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer
Religion Gone Too Far
114 books — 80 voters
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtryTrue Grit by Charles PortisBlood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthyAll the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthyNo Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
Best Westerns
823 books — 1,027 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
This was a long and detailed account of the Mountain Meadow Massacre, where over 100 pioneering men, woman and children were brutally murdered. Included was a mini history of the LDS religion and the circumstances that lead them to Utah in the 19th century. (view spoiler)

The MMM happened over 150 years ago in a remote part of the U.S. terr
Christopher Sutch
Jul 28, 2010 rated it liked it
I have rarely been more offended and disgusted by something I have read. The events described in this book merely confirm my contempt for the "religion" that perpetrated this foul massacre and that continues to embody hypocrisy by concealing the facts it knows about which points to the "church"'s complicity in the deed. Brigham Young was a motherfucking son-of-a-bitch and the "prophets" were nothing more than power- and money-hungry thugs. Get a grip, LDS leadership: admit your forebears' compli ...more
Jun 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Wow. How can you say, "I really liked" this book. The subject is heavy, especially for LDS folks like me who have grown up with the explanation of "The Indians made them do it." Some accounts or quotes are difficult to accept because as admitted by the author, they are hearsay and impossible to prove. But while the church has time and again argued Young's innocence, I believe this book effectively demonstrates his complicity both before and after the murders. Now I need to take my kids on a fiel ...more
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I may have grown tired of reading about the Mountain Meadows Massacre after having read two thick, well-researched meaty books on the subject-matter (the latter just finished now and having read it considering it far more exhaustive in its research than the prior work of non-fiction) and a work of historical fiction, along with a chapter devoted to the massacre in a book on conspiracy theories and mentioned in numerous books read on homegrown terrorism---not forgetting to mention watching a film ...more
Mar 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Having long ago read Juanita Brooks' The Mountain Meadows Massacre and the more recent Massacre at Mountain Meadows by Ron Walker et al (which actually followed Blood of the Prophets in publishing sequence), it didn't seem to me that there was anything revelatory, as suggested by one professional reviewer, about Bagley's take on this most heinous and gruesome episode. The only real addition was Bagley's decidedly accusatory attitude toward Brigham Young and George A. Smith, which seems to have b ...more
Pete West
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Along with No Man Knows My History, this confirms my testimony in the insanity of Mormon faith and that there is no God but the god of vanity, lies, and deceit.
Heather G

For such a fascinating subject, this book was a struggle to get through. It had all the details and was able to back up its words with references, but it was a dry book.
Derek Baker
Oct 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, belief


This is a compelling read, but the compelling narrative can make it a difficult read as you read to judge it for historicity.

Bagley inserts hundreds of sentence fragment quotes into his narrative, and a paragraph with several sentence fragment quotes may have one or several footnotes. I found myself referring to the footnotes (in the back!) constantly, to get a feel for the nature of the quotes. Sometimes they were from a newspaper account, in which case the fragments could have been from

James M. Madsen, M.D.
Feb 18, 2008 marked it as to-read
Recommended to James M. by: Wayne
Juanita Brooks's The Mountain Meadows Massacre has for decades been the classic account of this event, which was a personal tragedy on many levels as well as an embarrassment (one that persists to this day) for the Mormon Church. Since then, other books, e.g., Sally Denton's American Massacre, have contributed even more to our knowledge of this massacre and its aftermath. Will Bagley's work (Blood of the Prophets), I'm told, is a very scholarly updating, taking into account new evidence. As alwa ...more
Sep 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a well documented history of this time in the history of the Mormons. It gives credit to all the information added upon by the author that was collected by others. I had only studied this event in the Mormon church and with their approved statements of history. I was honestly appalled by the actions of the members of the church who were involved and the fact they they claimed and believed to be acting in the name of their prophet and God. The leaders of the church beginning with Brigham ...more
Jun 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
A little known historical fact: In 1857 Utah, Mormons massacred a wagon train of Arkansan emigrants on their way to California. They killed all but a few young children. Then they tried to blame it on local Indian tribes. But gradually word got out that it was white men who persuaded the emigrants to leave all their possessions and firearms, promising them safe escort to the nearest city. Instead, they killed them a few miles down the road in a place called Mountain Meadows. One of history's mys ...more
Aug 20, 2011 rated it liked it
It is hard to say you 'like' a book that tells a story of such blind obedience that leads to the death of an innocent immigrant wagon train load of men, women and children. I had read Juanita Brooks book on the Mountain Meadows Massacre and found it to be a fascinating historical account of the event. Since Brooks wrote the book many years ago, Bagley has stepped up to the plate to provide us with up-to-date information that was unavailable to Brooks. Bagley stops short of placing the blame for ...more
Jul 29, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: No one
The "Blood of the Prophets" was obviously written with an anti-Mormon agenda. Any one who has had an 8th grade civics class can see through the propaganda. Bagley is a good historian and did extensive research, but the conclusions he draws from his research are a stretch. The Mountain Meadows Massacre is a difficult subject. Any one who is sympathetic towards the church will take a sympathetic view, probably too sympathetic. Those who don't care for the church will take a critical view, probably ...more
I think that even if we had a "smoking gun" document that revealed that BY ordered the massacre, it still wouldn't explain the biggest mystery in my mind...which is WHY the massacre took place. I don't know that we'll ever really find that out (in this life anyway), but I (like thousands of others) remain fascinated by this horrible event in LDS and Western history.

I had some real issues with this man's conclusions and choice of words which reveal his bias and/or personal opinions. He also uses
Jul 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Incredibly dense and satisfying. This book took me the better part of a month to read, as I wanted to be clear on the details, which it is chock full of, and because I read all the footnotes. I have known many of the descendants of the perpetrators of the massacre and Bagley definitely places the worst crime involving emigrants in the American West in its context. The title alone has as many layers as the narrative. Instead of a narrower history of the massacre itself, this book gives a history ...more
Tiffany Cusick-Bristol
Aug 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
I am not LDS, but after reading this account of the Massacre I believe that Brigham Young was a lying villain who left his faith with a terrible legacy. This historical event should not be forgotten until the LDS Church admits it's sins and a public apology. It took me over a year to finish this book because Bagley drags out the events leading up to the Massacre in a tedious manner. Once I got to the actual Massacre and trials it was a quick read and interesting. Overall I think it was an inform ...more
Jerry Peace
May 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Religious thugs are the worst of all. They relish the arrogance and brutality but have an important addition-they make God the fall guy. Mass murder, assassination, a hundred years of cover up, lies, and the famous defense against the truth-deny, deny, deny. In this fascinating book the sheen of Brigham Young is way gone and again the warning emphasized of one who acts "with the certainty that he was an instrument of God's will," or any group who designate themselves as "God's chosen people."
K.A. Krisko
Jan 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: western-history
This was the second Will Bagley book I read, right after So Rugged and Mountainous. I've known about the Mountain Meadows massacre for years due to the places I've lived and worked, but details have always been sketchy. This is exhaustively researched and for me it was fascinating. The various roles, players, and motivations are catalogued with precision and Bagley stacks facts to allow the reader to reach his own conclusion. I will re-read this.
Feb 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a very interesting book; it tells the story of early Mormonism with an eye on the Mountain Meadows Massacre- one of the darkest points of said history.
It is a very interesting story. Despite LDS criticism, the book appears to me to be as objective as possible when dealing with matters that have as little reliable documentation as the Mountain Meadows Massacre.
John Abele
This is a truly shocking and appalling event in American history and it should be much better known than it is. Over 120 men, women and children were slaughtered in southern Utah in 1857. They slaughtered by the Mormon Nauvoo Legion aided by a handful of Paiute warriors.
Apr 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-non-fiction
Crammed with details almost to the point of overload, this is still an impressively-researched and written book. Probably supplants The Mountain Meadows Massacre by Juanita Brooks as the definitive account of this complex and still shadowy event in American history.
Apr 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Wow. Tragic and informative, infuriating at times. It hurts my head that so few people, relatively speaking, really know this story.

This was the perfect compliment to Joanna Brookes book.

Highly recommended.
Sep 22, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, adult
While I found Bagley's sense of chronology a little frustrating, I would consider 'Blood of the Prophets' a well researched and interesting read. There was some messed up junk going on with Western settlement!
Sep 15, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: mormonism
Builds on Brooks' work.
Oct 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
Wow. Know your history people. Seriously. amazing historical account - given by a mormon historian.
Jeff Anderson
Jan 05, 2013 rated it did not like it
Well researched. Bagley has trouble interpreting some of his sources and draws the wrong conclusions. Otherwise, it could have been a great book.
Nov 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Well-researched, equally well-written, and non-apologetic: seminal reading for anyone interested in this topic.
Feb 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Factual & interesting account of one of America's most tragic historical events.
Apr 16, 2009 marked it as to-read
This book is really long and I have too many books to read right now. I found myself skimming just to finish it and that's not a good sign. I'll take it up again when my attention is there.
Chris Bertagnole
Nov 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Well done. The description of the massacre haunts me years after finishing this book. Really good account of late 1850's Utah. Did not sway me to Mormonism!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Mountain Meadows Massacre
  • Massacre at Mountain Meadows
  • American Massacre: The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows, September 1857
  • Understanding the Book of Mormon: A Reader's Guide
  • The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power
  • The Mormon Experience: A History of the Latter-day Saints
  • In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith
  • Mormonism: A Very Short Introduction
  • Devil's Gate: Brigham Young and the Great Mormon Handcart Tragedy
  • Mormon Polygamy: A History
  • Salamander: The Story of the Mormon Forgery Murders with a New Afterword
  • By the Hand of Mormon: The American Scripture That Launched a New World Religion
  • The Mysteries of Godliness: A History of Mormon Temple Worship
  • No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith
  • An Insider's View of Mormon Origins
  • Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith
  • Thuggin In Miami (The Family Is Made : Part 1)
  • A Glorious Defeat: Mexico and Its War with the United States