Black SplatThe Avenging Angel (1995)

"You know, Alpheus, the problem with polygamy is that when you've had 27 wives and 56 children, one's just bound to turn out as dirt-stupid and pig-ugly as you."

The Avenging Angel - Miles confronts Alpheus in a saloon

Description: Tom Berenger as Miles Utley explains the drawbacks of Mormonism multiple marriage to a drunken Alpheus Young (Daniel Quinn) in the made-for-TV western motion picture The Avenging Angel (1995).

"In 1857, President Buchanan sent the army to take charge of Salt Lake City. This time we would not be moved. We kept them at bay for more than a year. A few hundred Morman militia men holding off 5000 federal troops. I was raised to be part of that militia. Trained by our two best warriors, Porter Rockwell, and my adopted father, Bill Hickman. Finally with the Civil War approaching, Washington called off its campaign against the Saints. But in the West, a handful of us remained on guard, working in the shadows to protect the Morman church. We called ourselves the Danites, but our brethren had another name for us...The Avenging Angels. But as time past, the Church began to deny our existence, regarding us an embarrassing link to a violent past. Still, my mission continued." - Miles Utley

Miles Utley has sworn to protect Brigham Young (Charlton Heston) from harm. During a prayer meeting, he sees a hooded assassin pull a derringer and aim it at the Morman prophet. Miles manages to fire and kill the perpetrator but when he attemts to unveil the face of the killer, he is knocked out by a co-conspirator and later blamed for killing an unarmed civilian, which turns out to be a woman who was in on the plot.

The Avenging Angel - Porter Rockwell and Miles Utley

Warned to comport his behavior, Miles begins to investigate and unravels deeds involving blackmail, hypocrisy, political aspiration and shifty land deals. For his efforts, he is beaten and left for dead.

Luckily, an unhappy wife of one of the church Elders rescues Miles and he soon learns more about a conspiracy against Brigham Young. With assistance of his mentor, Porter Rockwell (James Coburn) Miles uncovers the players in the assassination plot, killing Alpheus Young, one of the conspirators.

The Avenging Angel - Miles threatens to kill a conspirator

Miles later tracks down another of the conspirators, Ben Rigby (Kevin Tighe) who pulls a gun from his jacket and fires, only to injure a nearby woman. Miles storms Ben, knocks him to the floor, and cries "YOU BASTARD! I'm sending you to hell!" But the wounded woman intercedes and prevents Miles for exacting the violence, wanting to save his soul, although Rigby surely deserved to die for his crimes.

The Avenging Angel - Brigham Young and Miles Utley

In the end, although vilified by many in the church, Brigham Young assures Miles that he has always had the utmost faith in his judgment and welcomes him back in to the fold.

"They trained him to shoot. To ride. To kill. He was the hunter. Now, he's the hunted." - Tagline

Note: The Avenging Angel (1995) is based on a book written by Gary L. Stewart about the life of his Great-Grandfather Gabriel Marion Utley.

The Avenging Angel - Movie Poster

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