Within the mass of documentation of early Mormon settlement in Utah and particularly of Brigham Young’s household, there are brief, intermittent glimpses of an Indian woman, known only as Sally. The bare bones suggest an intriguing story. We learn of the dramatic first appearance of a Pavant Ute girl, emaciated, scarred with cuts and burns, “the saddest-looking piece of humanity” (19) in the words of one of the men who rescued (or bought) her from the Indian slave-traders operating at the time. She was taken into the household of Clara, one of Brigham Young’s wives, given the name Sally, and remained in the extended Brigham Young household as a servant for thirty years until she was married to a Pavant Ute leader named Kanosh, and died ten years later.

Virginia Kerns has taken up the challenge of filling out this story through exhaustive and impressive archival work. This has allowed...

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