In 1846, the United States Army came calling on the Latter-day Saints camped as refugees along the Missouri River in western Iowa. Five hundred of their most needed and able-bodied men were mustered into service for one year in the Mexican-American War. While the Saints established Winter Quarters on the Missouri, the Battalion endured enormous hardship in a 2,000-mile march to the Pacific Ocean. Though the war ended before the Battalion arrived, their presence nonetheless secured California for the Americans. Upon Completion of their service, the men were discharged to return home, but where was home? Where were their families, and by what route would they find them? They went in different directions and, along the way, discovered gold, blazed new routes into California, buried victims of the Donner Party, and proved themselves useful in incalculable ways.
This is the story of the Mormon Battalion – their march to California, their brotherly service while garrisoned there, and their subsequent adventures upon their discharge. Moreover, it is the heartrending story of their families – the wives, children, and loved ones left behind to make their way west, not knowing when or if their soldier would ever return. This is the story of a small group of pioneers who proved themselves the salvation of the Saints in the wilderness.