In 1865, bands of Ute warriors swarmed down from the hills in Central Utah, leaving death and destruction in their path as they drove off thousands of Mormon cattle. Their leader was Black Hawk who vowed to never cut his hair until the Mormons were driven from his land.
The U.S. Army refused to get involved. Colonel Conner insisted that the solution to the Utah problem wasn't to fight Indians, but to castrate Brigham Young with a dull knife.
The Mormon leader mustered his own illegal army--the Nauvoo Legion--setting apart two thousand young men to put on the armor of God. They were to do battle with the evasive Black Hawk who was arming his men with Civil War surplus Henry, Sharps, and Spencer rifles.
Mormon apostates Ike Potter helped the Utes plan their raids and dispose of the loot until he was finally arrested and killed in Coalville.
Lee Nelson spent five years researching and writing The Black Hawk Journey. Riding horseback to the locations described in the story, and digging through dusty journals were part of the preparation in bringing to life a fascinating, but a tragic episode in Utah history.