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Of heroes, descendants and miracles

Published: Wednesday, June 8 2011 4:30 a.m. MDT

Natalie Blackman, who plays Sarah Franks in the film, thought that given the extreme circumstances, it was a miracle that more handcart pioneers didn’t die on the trail.

Emily Wadley, who plays the single mother (Elizabeth Panting) of two children, said she liked two miracles. The first miracle was when Louisa Mellor found a pie on the side of the trail and shared it with her distraught mother. Another miracle was when the Cunningham family thought their teenage daughter, Betsy, died during the frigid night. The family left Betsy on the side of the trail but returned hours later when her mother remembered the family had been promised in a blessing that every member would arrive in Zion.

“They called the Lord on his promise and it came to pass,” Wadley said.

Kenzie Stinger, a 15-year-old from Kaysville, Utah, played the role of Betsy Cunningham. Her mother, Kim, and five brothers also had roles in the film. Kim is a descendant of Nathan Tanner Porter, who traveled part of the way with the Willie company, then helped rescue them. Being Betsy opened Kenzie’s eyes to a new perspective. She described her experience as “inspiring” and “spiritual.”

“I only had to endure a little of laying in the snow. They had to do much more than that. I am thankful for what they did and all the things they went through,” Kenzie said. “It hit me that it’s a true story, it actually happened, and the Lord can really perform miracles for us.”

For more on “17 Miracles,” visit 17miracles.com.

Email: ttoone@desnews.com

Twitter: tbtoone

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