Hosea Stout presents a controversial, complicated, and surprisingly important figure in early Mormon and Utah history "due to his sharp temper and a number of self-admitted violent actions [but] he also was a devoted follower and defender of the faith who contributed to the church's kingdom through persistence, reliability, and self-taught legal acumen" (xi).
A little more than fifty years ago, several events happened that brought the history of this remarkable and colorful nineteenth-century Latter-day Saint to life. First, the Utah Historical Quarterly published Hosea Stout's two autobiographies edited by Reed A. Stout in 1962.1 Then, two years later, historian Juanita Brooks published a two-volume edition of Hosea Stout's diaries entitled On the Mormon Frontier: The Diary of Hosea Stout, 1844–1861.2 Stout's diaries offered a descriptive and informative narrative of the Mormon exodus from Winter Quarters on the Missouri River across the plains to the valley of the Great Salt Lake. Historian Dale Morgan, who discovered the diaries in 1941, declared them "one of the most magnificent windows upon Mormon history ever opened."3