Sunday, January 23, 2011

Movie Review: Forgotten Voyage: ***The Mormon Sea Trek that Sparked the Gold Rush

This is an intriguing movie produced by Time Frame Films and directed by Scott Tiffany.  It tells the story of the Ship Brooklyn, and their six month 8000 mile voyage around the tip of South America, and to California.  The movie gives a very good idea of the cramped conditions on the ship.  It tells of their near death experience with a big storm at sea.  The approached islands off the Ivory Coast, before heading south the Tierra del Fuego.  The did not resupply on the Atlantic side, and then were unable to get to the normal resupply station in Chili because of a storm.  They finally maid land at Juan Fernandez Island and were able to harvest fruits and fresh water.

They traveled to Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) and from there to San Francisco.  They thought their journey would take them out of the United States, but when they arrived their the American flag was flying.

They arrived in 1846, and expected the rest of the church to meet them in California.  They established themselves in Yerba Buena (San Francisco) and established the first school and newspaper in the city.  The branched out to opposite establish the communities of Brooklyn and New Hope.  

 When the church stayed in Salt Lake, some went to Salt Lake to join them, while others stayed in California.  This movie tells the stories of Sam Brannon, who was the leader of the voyage.  He left the church when they didn't come to California.    He, more than anyone else was responsible for the gold rush, advertising it on the streets of San Francisco, and publishing it in his newspaper which he caused to be taken to the east coast.  He was California's first millionaire, using the member's funds to set himself up in business.  He owned a good percentage of San Francisco, Sacramento and Los Angeles.  His womanly and drunkardly ways eventually cost him.  His wife divorced him, and was awarded a million dollars in cash.  He had to liquidate his assets, which started his downfall.  He died a pauper, but had 20 years of incredible wealth.

John Horner was a member who stayed loyal to the church.  He established a farm in Fremont, and also did very well during the gold rush period.  He eventually moved on to Hawaii, and raided sugar cane.

I enjoyed this film.  It presented interviews from both sides of the Mormon equation, and did not rely on church members only.

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