On the southern rim of the Great Basin, north and east of a sun-baked ninety-mile desert coils lush Mountain Meadows. It is a serpentine pass located in what will become Washington County, Utah's extreme southwestern corner, beginning about eight miles south of the tiny community of Pinto. The Meadows, five miles in length and generally one mile wide, dramatically narrows near its southwest terminus. At its midpoint a gentle divide rises and falls between the Basin and the Pacific Slope. Life-giving fountains gurgle on opposite ends of the valley. The large western spring supports a coverlet of coarse mountain grass on the southern surface of the pass's thin ankle. An eight-foot bank rises from the spring, a monument to its ageless trickle. Below the bank stretches 300 yards of level ground, ideal for encampment. On this spot, 140 men, women, and children, oxen and mules for forty wagons and six carriages, 900 head of thirsty cattle, and 250 horses stopped to quench their thirst and to seek temporary refuse from the interminable heat and dust of a four-month journey. Avenging angels lurked in the canebrakes nearby. (Vengence is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.