Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer, 2003, Excerpts
Most of the Paiutes had ridden away from the Mountain Meadow in disgust, leaving the Saints with perhaps as few as forty Indian mercenaries. The Saints decided to end the standoff by means of subterfuge. The next morning, September 11, Lee sent an English convert named William Bateman toward the encircled emigrants under a white flag; Bateman was instructed to tell them that the Mormons were there to intercede with the Indians on the Arkansans’ behalf, and would escort them to safety past the hostile Paiutes if the emigrants would hand over their weapons.
Seeing no other alternative, they agreed to his terms and gave up their weapons. The youngest children and several of the wounded were placed in a wagon and driven away. They were followed on foot by the emigrant women and the older children. A few hundred yards behind this group, the men of the Fancher party were led away in single file, with each emigrant escorted closely by a Mormon guard.
At this infamous command, each of the Mormons immediately fired a bullet point-blank into the head of the captive under his purview. Most of the emigrant men died instantly. The women and children were attacked “by the Indians, among whom were Mormons in disguise.” Painted Paiutes rushed upon these victims with guns and knives and began shooting and bludgeoning them to death and slashing their throats.
The slaughter was over in a matter of minutes, leaving an estimated 120 emigrants dead. Approximately fifty of the victims were men, twenty were women, and fifty were children or adolescents. When quiet settled over the killing field, the Mormons looted the corpses for valuables; after the Saints gathered what they wanted, they allowed the Indians to take the rest. The dead emigrants were soon stripped of everything, including every shred of clothing they’d been wearing.