During 1856, five handcart companies of nearly 1,900 people traveled from Iowa City, Iowa to Salt Lake City, Utah. The first three companies arrived with limited problems. Less than 27 of the 816 members of those companies died during the journey of over 1,300 miles.
Late leaving Iowa City, the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies and the Hunt and Hodgett Wagon Companies encountered fierce winter storms that began on October 19. Rescuers sent from Salt Lake City by Brigham young found the starving snow stranded pioneers on the high plains of Wyoming and assisted them to Salt Lake City. Approximately 190 of the 1,076 members of these two companies died during the journey.
In 1991, the Riverton Wyoming Stake began again a rescue effort for the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies. This rescue was a spiritual rescue that has come to be known as the Second Rescue.
This website contains the history of these valiant Saints, as well as their rescuers, past and present. It also contains information to help you visit the sites where these struggles took place, and experience firsthand the spirit that continues to reside on these hallowed grounds.