Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Saints at Devil's Gate, Landscapes Along the Mormon Trail, by Laura Allred Hurtato & Bryon Andreason Book Review

Book Summary:

A beautiful art book from the Church Historian's Press, publisher of The Joseph Smith Papers.

From 1846 to 1869, some 70,000 Mormon pioneers traveled the Mormon Trail, the 1,300-mile route from Illinois and Iowa to Salt Lake City. In 2011, three award-winning Mormon painters decided to visit sites all along the historic route and capture the landscapes in oil. This full-color art book, featuring 52 landscape paintings, presents the fruit of their five-year project. Each painting is paired with journal entries or reminiscences from pioneers who made the journey. Essays by the authors and an artist interview illuminate both the art and the history of the trail.

The book gives written and visual context to the pioneers’ experience of the trail, bears witness to the land as it exists today, and links the experience of pioneers to the challenges of today.

Note: This book was published to accompany an exhibition of the same name at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City. Therefore, distribution of the book has been limited. Copies are available at the museum gift store, at, and at some independent bookstores in Utah.

My Review:

This book is a unique glimpse into the lives of those who made the journey and the scenery of the Mormon Trail. Each page includes a gorgeous painting of each location along the Mormon Trail along with journal entries from different pioneers. Also included is the perspective from the painter or insight from the museum curator and the stop on the map.  All of these things combined really made the journey come alive for me as the reader! I especially enjoyed seeing what each place looked like and reading the different observations from the people who lived this journey. While one pioneer would describe a place as beautiful, another would say there was nothing very pleasant about that place. This collection of paintings and journal entries really helped me see the pioneers as real people with normal human insights and emotions. I was able to make my own journey on the trail through them! This is a wonderfully put together book that will open any person's eyes to the people and the places that are The Mormon Trail.

Saint's at Devil's Gate is available to purchase online at or you can visit the exhibit and pick up a copy at The Church History Museum.  You can also visit the exhibition online here!

Happy Reading!!!

Source:  Publisher for review

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