A mark of good historical fiction is that it motivates people to study more about the original historical events. While academic history books are the most in-depth and accurate, some lay readers may find them difficult to digest without some impetus. Novels and films based on real-life experiences can pique the curiosity of audiences and motivate them to tackle more difficult material. In the quest to determine what "really" happened, the record of the events, the interpretation of the events, and the dialogue about the events can enrich lifelong learning when using a variety of media, especially in these times of such new-media enthusiasm.
Ephraim's Rescue motivated me to learn more about Ephraim Hanks and the experiences portrayed in the movie. The film begins with an account of an elderly Ephraim Hanks racing to the Johnson home to heal Sister Johnson, who is seriously ill. When Hanks arrives, Brother Johnson informs him that he is too late—his wife passed away two hours previously. Nevertheless, Ephraim washes his hands and proceeds to administer to Sister Johnson, who is raised from the dead. In the blessing, Ephraim promises her that she will yet give birth to seven daughters, who will stand by her in future times. While watching the movie, I wondered to myself, did this sequence really happen, or is it an exaggeration made for dramatic purposes? So I did some research.