"Horrible Massacre of Emigrants!!" The Mountain Meadows Massacre in Public Discourse



“Have they [the Indians] ever troubled you?”

“Oh yes, indeed; but we have always considered it cheaper to feed them than to fight them. We would rather [at] any time give them one hundred head of fine fat cattle than lose the life of a single man, woman or child, and this is the policy we have pursued from the beginning. Some years ago,” said he,“a party of emigrants, in crossing the plains, lost a couple of horses, and at once suspected the Indians of having stolen them. As a piece of malice they sprinkled the meat of an ox that had died through the night with strychnine. After their departure a band of Indians found the meat and ate of it, the result was that nearly all that did so died; the remainder of the tribe then took up the trail, and gaining fresh accessions by the way, came up with the emigrants at ‘Mountain Meadow’, where in three days they killed 130 of the party. Some of our people, noticing that something was wrong, followed after, and arrived in time only to save the remainder of the train, some 16 women and children. That is the history of the ‘Mountain Meadow Massacre,’ for which we have always received the blame. We have frequently rendered trains assistance, for the Indians in a measure respect us, and our words with them have weight."