31 May 2006 | bkoganbing
Mormon Palace Coup
Tom Berenger who's a gun totin' sharp shootin' Mormon security man foils an attempted assassination of Brigham Young and is hardly thanked for his efforts. He investigates a little further and finds there's quite a complicated conspiracy at work.
It's good to remember that this film is based on a novel, just as the DaVinci Code is. It's not anything remotely resembling real history of the Church of Latter Day Saints.
For one thing as another reviewer pointed out the Transcontinental Railroad had been completed by 1872. Not only completed, but Brigham Young made money off it in every possible way.
Brigham Young was a complex and charismatic leader who during the Civil War was practically treated like he was a ruling foreign power by both Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis. His task as best he saw it was to keep the spirit of the LDS church alive and not let it get too touched by outside influences. Of course no one plays a complex and charismatic religious figure like Charlton Heston. His Brigham Young is like his Moses if Moses had actually gone into Canaan and had the responsibility of building a nation as Joshua did.
By the way the Mormons here show enough outside influence. They drink, they smoke, they indulge in extra-marital affairs just like a whole lot of gentiles do. Our protagonist Berenger is no exception.
In the film 20th Century Fox did, Brigham Young with Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell, and Dean Jagger we saw a bit of the colorful Mormon Scout Porter Rockwell as played by John Carradine. Here the part is played by James Coburn who's older and wiser. Rockwell's place is still hotly debated, he was devoted to Brigham Young for certain and his devotion led to some blood stained hands.
I'm not sure how much controversy this made for TV western has caused among the LDS community. Apparently they were a lot smarter in handling this than other religions were with The DaVinci Code. If you remember this is a novel and not a factual retelling of events, you will get some insights into the LDS community.