Wild West

HANDS UP! DON’T SHOOT!

Statehood petitions in 1849, 1856, 1862, 1872 and 1882 hadn’t led to the desired result in Utah Territory, mainly because of hostility in Washington, D.C., toward the Mormon Church and its practice of polygamy. Congress had created Utah Territory in 1850, three years after Brigham Young’s initial emigrant company arrived in the Great Salt Lake Valley, but becoming a state was a far greater challenge. There remained a cultural divide between resident members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and non-Mormons. In mid-December 1886, when Deputy U.S. Marshal William Thompson shot and killed a fugitive named Ed Dalton, some even questioned whether the lawman had pulled the trigger simply because Dalton was a Mormon.

Edward Meeks Dalton, of English heritage, lived and farmed with his family in Iron County, in southwest Utah Territory. Like most of his neighbors, he believed in and

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