Abide with Me (2012)

 

 

 

Director:     John Lyde.

Starring:     Danielle Chuchran (Lucy),  Bailee Michelle Johnson (Maggie),  Savanna Kylie Lewis (Hallie),  Paul D. Hunt (U.S. Marshall Landry),  Danny James (Robert),  Kevin Auernig (Deputy Porter),  Caitlin E.J. Meyer (Abigail),  Angie Enegmann (Rachel). 

prosecution of Mormons for polygamy in the Edmunds Tucker Act of 1887

 

 

Spoiler Warning:  below is a summary of the entire film. 

A pretty blonde woman, named Lucy, says: "Life was hard for us after the Edmunds Tucker Act was passed. Hundreds of Mormon men were arrested for polygamy or unlawful co-habitation and sent to prison. My family was always on edge always wondering if someone was going to come and turn our lives upside down."

She is splitting wood for a fire. Lucy calls for Hallie who is with the first wife's daughter, Maggie, down by the stream. The two girls come up and Lucy tells them to take the water into the cabin and she will be there shortly. Lucy says that being the second wife is no easy task.

The first wife is sick and Lucy tries to tend to her, but the first wife won't take soup from Lucy. She will, however, take soup from her daughter.

The women see a wagon coming toward the cabin. Lucy grabs a rifle and goes outside. She carefully aims the weapon at the wagon. But then she recognizes that the woman approaching her is none other than her good friend Abigail. Her husband just recently bought the farm near Lucy's place. And Abigail has brought Lucy a wedding present, a red shawl. She doesn't visit for long because her husband is waiting for her.

The next person arriving is none other than the women's husband Robert. He came back from trying to fetch a doctor, but the doctor's wife told him the doctor was away.

Robert approaches Lucy, but she does not even move. He tells Lucy that the doctor is away right now. The daughter Maggie has her mother's negative opinion of Lucy. She tells her father that she had to feed mother herself because Lucy doesn't do it right.

Hallie asks Lucy if she is happy? Lucy does not reply. The small daughter lords it over Lucy and pushes her out of her way.

Two men are riding up to the cabin. Lucy tells the two girls to go inside. They are to tell Robert to hide and if the men ask where is the father, they are to say he's away on business.

The two men get off their horses. The man in black says he's Dominic Landry, the US marshal, and the other is the deputy marshal, David Porter. He wants to talk to Robert Paterson. Lucy tells him that Robert is away on business.

The marshal goes inside to talk with the women and girls. He explains why he is here. Moreover, he says that wife Rachel doesn't look like she's going to make it.

Lucy sends the two girls out of the cabin. The marshal asks her how did she come to be with Robert Patterson? She says that he just took them in. The marshal, however, knows she's lying. So he just says that Lucy is his second wife. So Lucy admits it.

The marshal says he shoots his sick horses and gets a new philly. He is, of course, implying that this is the reason why Robert took Lucy as a second wife. Now the marshal starts to get fresh with Lucy. Robert is hiding under the bed. With the marshal's back to Robert, he comes out and shouts: "Enough!" The two men start fighting. Robert yells to Lucy to take the girls and get out of here. Lucy runs outside and screams at the girls to run for it.

The marshal wins the struggle. With Robert now on the floor, the marshal kicks the husband. He then rushes out doors and is about to fire his rifle when the deputy marshal raises the barrel of the rifle upward and the shot's trajectory is changed. The marshal says he wasn't going to shoot the girls.

In the woods Lucy says they will go the about two miles journey to Abigail's house. Her husband will know what to do.

Now Robert is tied to a tree. The marshal hits Robert in the neck with his rifle butt. Robert is knocked unconscious. Now the lawmen go chasing after the girls on horseback, but they too have to go on foot in the thick woods. The deputy marshal doesn't think they should chase after Lucy and the two girls for something bad might happen to them. The marshal says that his job is to bring back Robert and the two wives and he's going to do the complete job.

Robert shouts over to Rachel that he needs hers help. The marshal is going after the other three girls. Rachel has to crawl out of bed and over to the back of the chair.

The deputy says the marshal goes too far with this whole thing. The marshal responds that polygamy is just wrong and the Mormons are a blight on the nation's lands.

The three girls stop for a brief rest. The girls want to know why the marshals chasing them. They passed a law against polygamy. What about God's law? Lucy answers that they don't pay any attention to God's law.

Lucy was shot by a bullet which hit her in the left shoulder. Hallie takes a look at the wound. The girls create the illusion that the girls split up.

The men reach the fork in the trail and start to examine it closely. The marshal finds some of Lucy's blood on some rocks. The deputy says the marshal hit one of the girls. The marshal tells him it never would have happened if the deputy had not deflected the rifle barrel upwards. The two men now split up to follow the different tracks.

Rachel gets the knots loose and Robert is able to free himself. He is soon on his horse heading after the pursuers and the pursued. The three females cross over a log only to run into the marshal. Hallie manages to knock the sheriff out with a log. He falls into the stream and is pushed along by the white water.

Lucy runs after the marshal and saves his life by pulling him out of the water. Hallie wants him to die, but Lucy refuses to leave him. She builds a fire near the marshal to warm him up and dry him off.

Robert arrives at the thick woods, ties up his horse, grabs his rifle and starts looking for the girls. Lucy collapses. Hallie stops and uses the marshal's knife to get the bullet out of Lucy's shoulder.

Lucy recovers. Hallie asks Lucy why she ever married Robert? Because she was in love and she wanted a home for her and Hallie. But now, from her own experience, she thinks that polygamy is not a good thing.

Robert finds the marshal. He kicks his boots to get him to wake up. Robert then hits the marshal with his rifle butt and kicks the man when he is down. The marshal lands near a stone. He picks it up and hits Robert with it knocking him out. It looks like the marshal is going to bash Robert's head in but the deputy marshal stops him by firing his pistol.

The marshal is disgusted with the deputy. He says the deputy went soft on him and now he is siding "with the Mormon pigs". When the deputy goes over to check on Robert, the marshal runs away. Robert gets up and says he only came to find his family.

The girls keep running except for a few stops. Lucy is in considerable pain so they go through a portal in a huge fence made of tree branches and trunks haphazardly put together. The marshal walks past them and Hallie tries to shoot the marshal through the fence, but Lucy deflects the shot.

Lucy takes the pistol and goes looking for the marshal. She is grabbed by the deputy. Robert is with the deputy.

Now the marshal is using Maggie as a shield. All the others come around the marshal and Maggie. Maggie suddenly bites the marshal's hand hard. He falls over and hits his head on a rock. The marshal is dead.

The deputy walks home with the others. He is not even going to try to bring them in.

Lucy as narrator says: "While I did not understand polygamy at the time, I chose to follow the Lord's commandment with no regret. I later came to realize that it was the Lord's way of preserving the saints during their most distressful time. Robert and I remained married until he passed away at the age of 63. Over the years, I began to love him as he had hoped. I still miss him."

 

 

"Polygamy was once commanded of the Lord for a very specific purpose at a critical time in history and the law was divinely repealed in 1890. "

This film, I suppose, is meant to be somewhat of an explanation for the practice of polygamy by the Mormons. The last sentence in the film says that polygamy was necessary for a time in the early faith of the Mormons and then it was repealed in 1890. I am no expert on Mormonism, but the faith has dropped the practice of polygamy. I agree that no bad feelings or thoughts should be directed against the Mormons.

This film deals with polygamy and its persecution from the perspective of one polygamous family. The film shows how a family can be divided by the jealousies of wives toward one another. These jealousies can then be passed down to the children of the various women involved. This part of polygamy Lucy did not enjoy and she became very unhappy in the marriage.

The story is a short one of around 40 minutes and it's a very simple, straight-forward telling of some of the problems associated with polygamy.

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D. 

 

 

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