Last year, I wrote a post about how Oregon Trail was the go-to game of my childhood. I don't think that I can really top my Oregon Trail post (which is one of my favorite posts I've ever written). So this post is an extension of that post, which just confirms that my childhood love for pioneers that has never gone entirely away. Because there is no way just one blog post can encapsulate all the joy and imagination that went on in my seven-year-old head when I pretended to be a pioneer.
So in the spirit of '47, this year I'm talking about Legacy.
Legacy was one of my favorite movies growing up, rivaling Swan Princess and Anastasia. But Legacy was particularly special for three reasons:
1. It was about pioneers.
2. I only got to see it when we visited family in Utah and went to Temple Square (this was in the 90s before Legacy was available for home use and was only broadcast at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building--now you can watch it online). But the novelty of seeing it only in Salt Lake was all very exciting to a seven-year-old girl from Las Vegas.
3. Did I mention it's about pioneers?
Because it is. And I loved those stories about pioneers. Still do. I am unashamed about that. Even though there are parts of the movie that I watch now and am like, "What?" or, "They just glossed over that bit of history really fast." Oh well. You only have an hour, so you've got to do what you can.
For those unfamiliar with Legacy (and especially for those familiar with it), let me give you a taste of why I loved it so much:
1. First of all, let's look at these awesome panoramas:
[Home on the range. Simply stunning.]
2. Also, I loved scenes like this where you can sense soul-illumination:
[ask and ye shall receive.]
[by the power of the Holy Ghost, ye may know the truth of all things.]
3. Like I said earlier, there's only so much Church history you can pack into an hour-long movie that also has to include romance, drama, and intrigue, but scenes from the movie gave my parents opportunities to talk to me about Church history and what happened in Missouri and Nauvoo. Like the Haun's Mill Massacre and the malaria outbreak in Commerce, Illinois.
[Governor Boggs's infamous Extermination Order which said that all Mormons were to be driven from the state of Missouri or killed. When I want to be someone particularly scary for Halloween, I dress up as Governor Boggs. Or General Clark. Also, as an aside--did you know that the Extermination Order wasn't officially struck from Missouri laws until 1976? Yeah, it was there for over one hundred years. Yikes.]
[Rough times in Missouri.]
[The malaria bout in Illinois.]
Another aside: I had a mission companion who loved watching Legacy on preparation days or after nightly planning (and I certainly didn't protest). There was a time when we were watching this scene and she grabbed my arm:"Sestra. Sister."
"That is me (pointing at Eliza), and that is you (pointing at Joseph Smith)."
"It's that bad, huh?"
4. Okay, I have to be honest. One major reason I loved this film was because of the romance between Eliza and this 1840s British dreamboat:
[That guy on the left. In the brown suit and with the chiseled nose. David Walker.]
David Walker is quite the man. Like, did the other guy even stand a chance?
[Now the Other Guy is on the left talking with Eliza's dad and David Walker is looking intently at Eliza, not even knowing that she's engaged to marry the other guy. But will that stop the charming David Walker? Nope.]
[The Showdown: David Walker vs. Other Guy.]
Remember the time he proposed to her on their first date?
["I have little to offer but . . . these hands, my faith in the Lord, and a promise to cherish you with all my heart. And I will make you laugh." *Swoon*]
And then he gives some killer relationship advice:
["Marriage is a grand reward for kindness."]
OKAY. STOP. PAUSE THE MOVIE. WRITE DOWN WHAT HE JUST SAID. THIS IS ACTUALLY ONE OF THE BEST PIECES OF LOVE/MARRIAGE ADVICE. EVER.
You don't marry someone just because he or she is nice to you. Like, it's important, but it's not THE reason why.
[But she's still not convinced, sooooooooo . . .]
[That should do it. Because love is also exciting, happy, and splendid.]
Of course she is going to pick the attractive Englishman. Did the other guy even have a chance? I mean, she calls the other guy "Brother Jacob" and he calls her "Sister Williams." They're not even on a first name basis and they probably haven't even kissed. So, um. No contest.
[Yup. Called it. Nauvoo's newest couple. Mawwage is what bwings us together today.]
Okay, sorry about my fan-girling. Moving on . . .
5. This movie is also wonderful because it shows some wonderful Mormon woman spunk (which, I assure you, was and is found in abundance).
Like the time Eliza represented thousands of Mormon women who crossed the plains with children and while pregnant--and who refused to give up:
["If you don't go, I will carry you on my back."]
Yeah. Don't mess with determined Mormon women. Especially determined Mormon women who have been driven out of their homes four times.
Also, this scene where she prays and asks God to heal her ox is quite memorable.
[People, this is cool. It is based on a real experienced that happened to Mary Fielding Smith. You should read about it here, here, and here.]
I loved this pioneer story because even though the events are dramatized, they represent real events that happened and people who did live. Stories of my ancestors, even. I love their stories of faith, conviction, and determination. They are inspiring.
And I know that Legacy is melodramatic. Believe me, I know. This is not meant to prove that this is the BEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME.
Because it isn't.
But I think it is a touching tribute to those who gave so much.
And their stories inspire me to give more and to be more.
But if our lives are spared again
To see the Saints their rest obtain
Oh how we'll make this chorus swell:
All is well! All is well!
And all will be well.