Ephraim's Rescue (2013) - full transcript

By listening to and following his heart, Ephraim Hanks finds his way in life and eventually provides relief and rescue to the suffering Martin Handcart Company. Based on a true story.

You're too late...

She died two hours ago.

The Relief Society sisters
are preparing her for burial.

Brother Johnson.

Your wife would like to talk to you.

My darling!

l had the most wonderful dream.

There was a man with white hair
and a full white beard

sitting here beside my bed.

He told me that l would bear
and raise seven daughters.

The man also said

there would be a time in life
when they would all stand together

and be a great joy to me.

Being worthy
when your opportunity arrives

is a lesson it took me years to learn.

lt is, for me,

what a good life is all about.

But as a boy, becoming a good man
was the furthest thing from my mind.

lt wasn't the first time l'd put Lindy
up wet,

but as it was Sunday,

Pa couldn't take it to me
'til the Sabbath had passed.

They went off to church
and that gave me time

to make the decision
to strike off on my own...

l've always loved the Sabbath.

l determined to show my parents

l could sort out what this life
is all about

and grow up
to become a good man.

l worked my way around
parts of the country for a time,

learned what they knew,
then found myself

in the United States Navy
on the USS Columbia!

Three years later

l was back where l began,
at the port of Boston.

May have broke your china
on that one, eh?

-Get out a here.
-Be quick about it, Eph!


You lookin' for a bustin', mister?

That's quite a temper
you've developed there.

Yeah, so?

Where is your home?

Who's asking?

How long since you've been there?

Three years.
Now, who's asking?

Three years is a long time
from those you cherish.

Yeah. Well, l hope nobody's waiting
for me at the window

'cause l'm going to town,
changing ships

and off for another three years.

May l offer to watch your belongings
in your absence?

Now why would l ever...?

Yes, l'd be obliged, sir.

Thank you kindly.

Eph, quit your dawdling!

Time's a wastin'!
We got good times to be had tonight!

Ephraim? What kind of name
is Ephraim, anyway?

l haven't heard a name that peculiar
since those, huh...

those New Guinea blokes, eh?

Strange birds they were.

As quickly as he had arrived,

the Man in the Grey Tweed Suit
was gone.

A new thought entered my head.

l made the decision to forgo
the Navy and return home.

Now, in my later years,
l see more clearly.

Though as a boy l had stayed
close to God,

as a sailor l was drifting
further and further away...

lt was time to return and make amends
with my parents.

Acorn, that's a good boy.

Good boy.

l believe you took a wrong turn,


lt's Eph!

Ephraim! Ephraim!

My boy!

Where was he buried?

Near the south oak.

Did he have an ailment?
What did he die of?

He was old, Ephraim.
He was 52.

During those years at sea, l...

l wanted to make you
and father proud.

Now l'll never know...

lf you have any regrets, son,
let them be for your brother Sidney.


Where is Sidney?

He's been led away
by the terrible Mormons.


They have cast a spell upon him.

Where is he?

A-way out west, almost to the ocean,
in lllinois.

Well, then l will go and free him.

Yes, go...
as soon as you are able.

Saving Sidney was
what my mother wanted...

and seemed to be an opportunity
to show her

l could do something good.

Looking back, it seems like evertyhing
that happened in my life

was a lesson
God wanted me to learn.

Like the morning a visitor stopped by
to teach me about keeping my head.

Some days,
lessons come one after another.

After taking the right path,
a strange despair fell upon me,

and l was overpowered
by a stupor of thought.

What's the matter with me, Acorn?
l am a blathering idiot...

Must've taken a wrong path.

Something is amiss.

l do not know what to do.

Blessed Father,

it's been a long time
since l've done this.

For the first time in years, l prayed.

Seems since l was a boy,
the Lord was always willing

to keep in touch with me if l was
willing to keep in touch with Him.

And though l'd been absent
without leave,

the Lord was quick to whisper
what l should be doing.

l felt impressed to get
on back home.

Soon as l got there, l realized why.



Sidney had been told in a dream
he needed to go home.

Son, l want you to do us both
a favor.

l want you to call on Pastor Reed
and Pastor Robbins.

lnvite them here Thursday next.

Just being sociable?

You and Sidney are home now.

l want no more of this Mormon rubbish.

They're good, Christian men.
They'll bring a Christlike message.

-A prophet in our day?!
-Prophets are a thing of the past!

Do you believe that God
is among us?

Most certainly!

''Surely the Lord God would do nothing

but He revealeth his secret
unto his servants prophets.''

Amos 3:7.

Well, if God did speak to man,

surely he would come to learned men
such as us!



Proper English is we: ''He would come
to learned men such as we.''

ln any case...

why would God reveal His word
to a young boy?!

Yes! Why would the Lord
speak to a young boy,

like He did Samuel?!

1st Samuel 3:4.

Gentlemen, it is my earnest
testimony given to me

by the spirit that Joseph Smith
is indeed a prophet of God.

And it is my testimony
that Joe Smith is a liar and a thief!

And to believe his stories sets you
among the weakest of morons!

And any man who would follow him
would rob his own mother!

Enough! You have crossed a line,
and l will hear no more!

Leave our home before l...

-Go, go, go!
-Get out!

You're not welcome
in Sunday School anymore!

And forget about the socials!

Get outta here!

And as a kid,
l hated your Sunday School class!

l am sorry, Mother...

But no one can slander my brother
while l am here.

( Mouthing words )
They forgot their hat!

Now why would he come
to a young boy?

No, he would come to learned men
such as us,

such as us, yup, yup.

Eph, you need to know that...

what l testified of to them is true.

God has come again to Earth
and angels minister to men.

l myself was about to die
from a serious rupture,

but through the laying on of hands,
l was healed.

You were healed?

The way Christ healed others?

Here, this is the Book of Mormon.

That very night, l chose to cast my lot
with Sidney and the Mormons...

and another adventure
was about to begin.

l should have known
the moment you returned.


You always have been
and always will be trouble!

You abandoned us once
and you'll leave us again.

Mother, l'm just...

You bring only shame to your father
and embarrassment to me.

Because l seek to do what's right?

No! Because you only think
of your precious self!

lt's not within you
to become a good man.

Once again, in my mother's eyes,
l had failed to be good.

So we did as she asked
and bid farewell...

then headed out
for the city of Joseph.

l had many questions,
but they were all answered,

and the determination
became strong within me

to be a defender of the gospel,
of Zion and her cause,

come what may.

The same year l was baptized,

a young man halfway around
the world was baptized also...

His name was Thomas Dobson.

You have gifts, Thomas.

Let the spirit guide you
to foster them.

You can help others with them.

You Mormons!

Run, Thomas!

Though l continually fell short,
l was trying to do better,

which helped me through
the death of Brother Joseph,

the Mormon Battalion
and many other trials.

At length, l made it
to the Salt Lake Valley

and thought to continue
my pursuits there in Zion.

Sidney! You know what the worst thing
about multiple wives is?

Multiple mother-in-laws!

He thinks he's funny, but he's not.

Brother Brigham...

Eph, there is something
that l would like you to do for me.

Before you spend another minute
in this place,

l want you to go home
and shave off that beard.

Yes, Brother.

Not a word.

l'm really not like my brother.

Well, what got into you?

l think the cat licked you clean.

l look like a peeled onion.

Brother Hanks,
did l ask you to shave?

Yes, Brother Brigham, you did.

Well, then, go on home
and do it right!

Now there is a man
that will give strict obedience,

regardless the nature of my request.

There is a man that l can trust
with the most important of missions.

Oh, marvelous, me boy, marvelous!

You truly have a gift, Thomas.

Someday you will be a great strength
to many that carry heavy burdens.

Through those next years,
l contracted to carry the mail

from Salt Lake to St. Louis
and back.

l made the trip 'most 50 times...

so many times,
it became humdrum.

l crossed the plains
during any season of the year.

l got to where it did not matter
to me what the conditions were.

l was again being prepared.

On one such trip, l was warned
that an angry tribe

was camped a short distance
off the trail.

But rather than avoiding them,
l felt impressed to call on them.

l was taken to the chief's tent.

They were clearly very happy
l had made the effort to stop by.

l believe we are each given
certain gifts.

l was coming to realize one of mine.

Oyez, oyez!

The Dobsons are departing for ''Zion''!

Come one, come all,

and buy of their goods!

Mother! How can you allow the crier
to pitch our name about?

He is announcing to all
our private plans.

Truth be told, you have no care at all
about our private plans.

-You are embarrassed.
-And perhaps l am!

l have no desire to travel
to some uncivilized desert,

full of wild beasts, where they have
no respect for the dance.

You have no desire
to leave your sweetheart!

But, Thomas, you know she will
never accept the church.

The Prophet has said, ''Go'',
and go we must,

for l know this to be the true church
of God.

Me boy, you've got
to lose your life to find it.

Two months later, the Dobsons
were aboard the ship Horizon...

Two months later, the Dobsons
were aboard the ship Horizon...

and two months after that...

Me boy, l can scarcely put
one foot in front of the other.

Let it be spoken again, Mother,
l wanted no part of this.

The Lord looks after His own, son.

For your efforts, you'll be blessed.

What be the trouble?

Trouble? Oh, there be no trouble...

just the matter of Jonathan Stone,
found eaten by the wolves.


Brother Stone!

lt can't be!

lt can and it be.

Brother Dobson.

l'm told you dance the jig.

The Saints could use
a bit of cheerin' up at this time.

lt would mean much to us all.

They must have meant someone else...

not l.

ln October 1856,

l had contracted for a load of fish,

which l pulled out of Utah Lake.

l stayed that night
at the cabin of Gerney Brown.

We're building this brick wall,
and he says, ''Hey, Ephraim!

How thick is that brick wall?''

ln many ways, l believe
my entire life had been a plan

so l might be prepared for what became
my greatest adventure.



Yes, Brother Brown.

The handcart people are in trouble,
and you are wanted.

Will you help them?

Yes, l will go if l am called.

Ephraim! The handcart people
are in trouble, and you are wanted.

Will you help them?


Well, what if they should bite us
in the night?

Oh, keep your hair on, there'll be
no wolf worries while l'm about.

There l was lying on the ground,
looking right into the eyes

of the biggest, meanest,
beastly wolf l'd ever seen.

l didn't know what to do.

Then a voice said to me,
''Poke him in the eye!''

So l poked him in the eye!

And you know what he did?

He whimpered like a little pup
and ran away,

never to bother me again,
and he won't bother you either.

They're frightened of me, you know.

Bless you, son.

The nights grow colder.

Are you keeping on, Thomas?

Not really, Mother.
l'd have to say, no, not really.

l've waited 19 years
to make this journey, Thomas,

and if we hang on a bit,
for the sure of it, we'll be blessed.

Well, let me tell you how l would like
to be blessed...

lf l have to hear that pipsqueak
say one more time

how he poked that wolf in eye,
l'm going to poke him in the eye!

l am sorry, l was only trying
to soothe their fears.


l am so sorry.

lt's been a hard time for him and...

Brother Dobson.

Brother Tyler.

Thomas, l have a calling for you.

l would like you to accept
position in the burial squad.

Are there so many now
that we require a squad?


Thank you, brother.

Pardon me...

Pardon me, brother...

l do not know your name.

Are you dodging me?


lt is just difficult for me
to speak to a young girl...

a young, pretty girl...

when l have not bathed
in four weeks.

You haven't bathed in four weeks?

How remarkable.

You smell as if it's only been three!

Thank you.

Next morning l headed
toward Salt Lake

to learn what Brother Brigham
would have me do.

Are you Ephraim Hanks?

Who's asking?

Messenger from Brother Brigham!

Turns out, right when l was goin'
looking for the prophet,

the prophet was looking for me.

As l pronounced in Conference,
all the piety in the world

will not keep those souls
from harm's way.

We must show our faith
through our actions!

That is my religion
and that is the dictation

of the Holy Ghost that l possess.

Go and bring in those Saints
who are still on the plains.

l will get ready
and can start in a few days.

l can be ready on Thursday.

Brother Brigham...

l am ready now!

The Lord prepares each of us
for the purposes

that He has placed us on this Earth
to accomplish.

Moments are set
before each one of us

that, if we give
all that is within us,

will bring us to an ability
and power we have not before known.

Though the days were still warm,
Brother Brigham knew

things would soon change.

Those of you with strength at all
cross back and help the others!

Those of you with strength at all
cross back and help the others!

Those of you with strength at all
cross back and help the others!

Did you hear Captain Martin, Thomas?

They'll be fine.

Keep to your right!
There are perils on the left!

Keep to your right!

Brother Albert, would you do us
the honor of riding in our cart?


Bless you for your goodness.

l am feeling a bit
under the weather today.

Normally, l would secure
myself across,

perhaps several others,
but today is an exception, to be sure...

l'm really quite a good swimmer,
you should see.

l can get across in no time, l'm sure.

Just not feeling very today.

l feel bad, l see these other people.

l feel as though l could help, but...oh!

That water is wet.

l'll see this across, sister.

Bless you, Captain.

Who will help us, Mommy?

The Lord helps those
who help themselves, Paul.

Now come about.
Let's be on with it.

Keep to your right!
There are deep holes on the left side!

Thank you so much.

lt's awfully deep, and, um...

Really, you did a great job.

l'm grateful to be across.
Really, bless you, brother. Thank you.

Steady on!

l did promise l would walk
every step of the way to Zion,

but l really don't think rivers count.

l mean, it's awfully deep
and awfully wet,

and l just don't think l would make it.

l mean, l am a pretty good swimmer,
but l don't...

Somebody... Hey!



Help us!

Somebody help them!

Save yourself
or you'll both be drowned!

We're drowning!

Here! Grab hold! Grab hold!

Leave him, let him go into the water!

No! He is my son!

Father, l need thy help! Father!

Under the bank!

She's over here!

l bear witness to each of you this day
that God lives!

He protected and saved me son
and me.

Without his help, we would now
be drowned in the water.

Any and all who hear my voice know

that a miracle has come
to pass this day

before your very eyes.

l brought you a gift.

My mother says that if one rubs
these leaves into one's hands,

it will soften and heal them.

May l?

ls it working?


For certain, it is working.

Brother Dobson.

He helped everyone he could.

Oh, Albert.

He's fine now, children.
He is right with the Lord.

Let me.

Please, allow me.

He gave everything for the gospel.

lt was a pleasant enough go
for a few days,

though my wagon,
full of supplies for the handcarters,

was not the fastest rig on the trail.

Then, still early in the season,
what Brigham prophesied came true.

To be on the trail
in these conditions meant

we were all risking our lives.

Ephraim! Ephraim! Eph!

We're hunkering down here
'til she blows over!

We'll be here 'til spring!

Worthless! Utterly worthless!

Will do better without them at all!

Absolute tosh!

Are you leaving them?

Yes, l am leaving them.

May l have them, please?

They will do you no good.
They can't be made to stay afoot.

Take them, Elizabeth.

Thank you.

For soup.


She wants to boil them
and make a broth for her family.

So it's come to this, has it?

That there is nothing more to eat
than a bit of disgusting broth

made from a stodgy boot?

What's her tale?

Elizabeth Bradshaw...

She's a marvelous sister.

She had two husbands
perish back home,

but she'll not give up her hope
to get to Zion.

When she was already onboard ship,
ready to sail from Liverpool,

her two wealthy brothers came aboard

and told her not to take her children
to ''those forsaken Mormons''

and such a despised place.

They promised that if she would stay,

she would never yearn for anything
money could buy.

But she held her son close,

turned to her brothers and said,
''The gospel is true.

Joseph Smith is a prophet of God,

and we are going to Zion.''

Sister Bradshaw knows, there are
possessions more precious than gold.

Reddick Allred had been assigned
to wait with supplies at South Pass

'til wagons could make it through.

You know what the worst thing
is about, uh...

Multiple wives?

...being out here on the trail
all the time?

Chapped lips.

l can tell you how to fix that.

Pick up one of them horse apples
on the trail...

Rub it around your lips.

Sounds like an odd cure.

lt won't cure 'em...

lt'll sure keep you from lickin' 'em.

We're heading back!

Ain't no way there's
a company out in this.

Either they's stopped somewhere
in Nebraska, or they's dead of the cold.

Did you get word to go back?

Get word?
How could we get word?

You gonna go, Eph?

Those of you with strength at all
cross back and help the others!

lf you have any strength left at all,
please, go back and help the others!

lf you can, please cross back
and help the others!

Just get yourself over, me boy.

Others have boots.

Just get yourself over.

The Lord helped us last time?

We can do this.


l just need you
to be my big man, please?

Sister Bradshaw?

l was hoping your son
would assist me across the river.

What do you think of that?


Thank you.

Brother Dobson,
would you assist these Saints

up and out of the marshes?

Yes, Captain!

But first,
l must see the others across.

He is coming to help us.


He is helping others.

Strange how lively
your thoughts become

after making a poor decision.

Did you get word to go back?

How could we get word?

You only think of your precious self!

The Lord prepares each of us.

Keep your head, Eph!

Headed the wrong way, boys!

Goin' home.
They's either camped or dead.

How do you know that?

l'll make you a proposition.

There's a decent place to camp
just back a piece.

You wait there.
We'll go on and find them.

What makes you think
you could find them when we couldn't?

Brother Brigham sent me
to find these Saints,

and l'll find them
or l'll give my life trying.

We'll wait for ya, Arza.

Ephraim! Will you help them?


l seek to do what's right.

Keep the fire goin', boys!

Arza! Dan!

Sometimes it's not which side
of the fork in the road to take,

it's which direction on the road
you ought to be headed.

Despite our prayers, Mother,
they are not getting better.

They are getting worse.

So it this the blessing of the righteous
which you speak of?

Please, Lord, we need Thy help,
and we need it now.

Or there will not be a live one
amongst us.

lt wasn't long before our wagon
was snowbound.

We determined they would wait
for help, and l would move on.

Even on horse it'll be a tough go.

You can't move mountains
while you're sitting on your backside!

l saw what you did,
helping others across the river.

lt was a really lovely thing to do.

Thomas, did you leave a girl
in England?


Was she pretty?

Yes, she was...

Did you leave a boy in England?


Was he... handsome?

No, he was quite plain, actually.

So l just tried not to look at him
too much.

Look at me.

Rally up! Move along now!

l'd best be off.


l will keep an eye on you.

No, Thomas, l'll be fine.

You help the others.


Eph, we found them!

lt wasn't much later Joseph A. Young
and Abel Garr showed.

They had found the Martin company
at Red Buttes

and left several rescuers there
to aid them.

They were riding day and night
to get back and report

to Brother Brigham.

They hurried off, exhorting me
to find them and do what l could.

Their account of the deprivation
they saw startled me.

l knew those Saints had no food left...

so l asked for a desire
that had been planted in my heart.

Dear Father...

You've told us to ask
for what we stand in need of.

l ask you now...

that a buffalo be put before me.

Mercy, Lord!

What took you so long?

lt was a rare thing

to find buffalo around that place
at this late season.

l knew the hand of the Lord was in it

for that animal had stayed behind

when the rest of its kind
left for their winter quarters.

l skinned and dressed it,
then loaded up my horses with it.


The sun was about an hour high
in the west

when l spied something
in the distance.

l perceived it moved.

l was then satisfied
this was the Handcart company

led by Captain Edward Martin
and Daniel Tyler.

The sight that met my gaze
as l entered into their midst

can never be erased
from my memory...

And any concerns l had regarding
my own well-being departed.

l must tell you, dear brother,

a prophecy was made
by one of the brethren

that the company would
feast on buffalo meat

when our provisions run short.

Thank you.

You and God have rescued us.

For this, you will be known
for generations.

What's your name, sister?

Alice Dobson --
Preston, Lancashire, England.

Me son is not faring well,
and this is surely a grand prize.

We've been through much.

Perhaps it would be best
if we rested here a day?

Though exhausted and starved
as they may be, Captain,

we must keep them moving
or we all perish together.

Pardon me, brothers.

Yes, sister?

lt's me husband!

Please, Brother Tyler.

He is a good man.

He was president
of the London branch.

He has been giving us his rations
for many weeks.

l am sorry, sister, but l cannot
administer to a dead man.

Brother Hanks, would you please
stay and prepare him for burial?

Brother Martin, there is much sorrow
in the Blair tent tonight,

but the Lord will use us as his hands
if we are willing and worthy.

Why do you do that?

None of us are truly clean...

but we must do our best to be so

as we petition the Lord
for his blessings.

What's his name, sister?

David Blair...

me husband!

David Blair, we anoint you with
this consecrated oil

and command you in the name
of Jesus Christ, breathe and live.

The effect of the blessing
was immediate.

Brother Blair sat up
and began to sing a hymn.

Word spread quickly after this

and the greater portion of my time was
then devoted to waiting on the sick.

l administered to several hundred.

lt would be a number of days before
we would meet the supply wagons.

There was much to be done.



Though more valley boys
arrived almost daily,

it was only as a drop to a bucket
to what was needed.

You are doing so well, me boy.

Just a bit of broth to make you
stronger and warm your toes.


l want you to know...

that l am sorry...

for the bother and heartache
l have caused.

Forgive me.

None for the wear.

l've been my own enemy
on this journey...

and l have laid many Saints to rest
as we've gone on...

but soon...

others will bury me.

Here, here, none such talk.

Tomorrow will be a warmer day.

First father...

and now me.

l'll soon be back.

Brother Hanks?

Yes, sister?

lt's me son, Thomas.

He is having a go of it.

All in the company say
that you have the gift.

Would you bless him?

lt's not only that.


His feet have the black.

They'll have to come off.

Please, Brother Hanks.

Please ask God for help.

He is a grand dancer
of the hornpipe jig.

Other than the gospel,
it's all he has.

ln the past day, l have removed limbs
not near this black.




Do you have faith in the Savior,
that He has all power?

l do.

But l am not worthy.

l have been poor and weak
in my actions.

As have we all.

You are a holy man.

l have so many faults,
l could not count them all.

Well, how is it, then,
you do so much good?

l try.

Thomas Dobson.

The time for you to leave this world
has not come.

You have a work yet to do.

l promise you...

though they be blackened,
your feet shall be saved.

Through your faith,
you will glorify God

and others will hear of and speak
of this day for many years to come.

They will learn of you in ways
we do not now even understand.

Thomas Dobson,
in the name of our Savior,

l say unto you,

take up thy bed and walk!

Oh, me boy, oh!

Thomas, spirits in the camp are low.

Do you feel the strength to now lift
as you have been lifted?

Steady on, me boy.

You are a good man, Brother Hanks...

And l am certain,
wherever your mother is,

she is very proud of you!

Many stood in need of a rescue
that winter,

and l was one.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ
is another name for opportunity.

lt offers us the privilege
and responsibility

to give something back
by becoming better than we were.

l notice the Lord always counts
on human folks to help Him out...

Thomas fostered his talents

and lifted the spirits of many
to carry on.

l tried to choose the right paths
and be worthy when called.

l like to think the three of us
made a difference.

$ For a little while $

$ Have l forsaken thee $

$ But with great mercies $

$ Will l gather thee $

$ ln a little wrath $

$ l hid my face from thee $

$ For a moment $

$ But with everlasting kindness $

$ Will l gather thee $

$ And with mercy will l take thee $

$ 'Neath my wings $

$ For the mountains shall depart $

$ And the hills shall be removed $

$ And the valley shall be lost
beneath the sea $

$ But know, my child $

$ My kindness shall not depart $

$ From thee $

$ Though thy affliction seem
at times too great to bear $

$ l know thine every thought
and every care $

$ And though the very jaws
of hell keep after thee $

$ l am with thee $

$ And with everlasting mercy $

$ Will l succor thee $

$ And with feeling will l
take thee 'neath my wings $

$ For the mountains shall depart $

$ And the hills shall be removed $

$ And the valley shall be lost
beneath the sea $

$ Know, my child $

$ My kindness shall not depart $

$ From thee $

$ How long can rolling waters $

$ Remain impure? $

$ What power shall stay
the hand of God? $

$ The son of man hath descended
below all things $

$ Art thou greater $

$ Than he? $

$ So hold on thy way $

$ For l shall be with you $

$ And my angels shall
encircle thee $

$ Doubt not what
thou know'st $

$ Fear not man, for he $

$ Cannot hurt thee $

$ And with everlasting kindness $

$ Will l succor thee $

$ And with mercy will l take thee
'neath my wings $

$ For the mountains shall depart $

$ And the hills shall be removed $

$ And the valley shall be lost
beneath the sea $

$ But know, my child $

$ My kindness shall not depart $

$ From thee $

$ My kindness $

$ Shall not depart $

$ From thee $