Two-Wheeled Torture Devices: A Contrarian’s View Of The Handcart Disaster A plenary session at this spring’s meeting of the Mormon History Association asked four experts to address the question: “Who or What to Blame? Assessing the Multiple Causes of the Willie and Martin Handcart Disaster.” All four pointed the finger at Apostle Franklin D. Richards, who rightly deserves his share of the blame for the disaster. But I believe it is also time to take a hard look at the person who designed, promoted, and insisted on maintaining the handcart system long after its critical flaws had been revealed: Brigham Young. This presentation examines long-ignored evidence identifying what was wrong with what Danish handcart pioneer John A. Ahmanson called “those two-wheeled man-tormentors,” which I have translated more freely as “torture devices.” Have historians of the disaster “put the saddle on the right horse”?
Will Bagley and Lyndia Carter