It is estimated that some 400,000 people crossed, the overland
trail between 1840 and 1869. Most came as individuals or
families in search of gold, land, or new beginnings somewhere
in California or Oregon territory. There was, however, one group
that came as a people from all over the world in search of their
Godthe Latter,day Saints. Approximately 70,000 Mormons
crossed this trail between 1847 and 1869. Most of them came
by wagon and ox team, walking all the way. And yet, when
we think of pioneers and reflect on those who made great
sacrifices in crossing the plains to reach Zion, it is often the
handcart pioneers that we think of. There were only 10 handcart
companies. There were only about 3,000 who pulled handcarts.
And yet they are the ones who have become the living symbol of
our pioneer heritage. This is their story.