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Out of Liberty
|Out of Liberty|
|Directed by||Garrett Batty|
|Produced by||Garrett Batty|
S. McKay Stevens
|Written by||Stephen Dethloff|
S. McKay Stevens
Brandon Ray Olive
|Music by||Robert Allen Elliott|
|Distributed by||Purdie Distribution|
Samuel Goldwyn Films
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Out of Liberty is a 2019 film directed by Garrett Batty, starring Jasen Wade as deputy jailer Samuel Tillery.
The film tells the story of Joseph Smith (Brandon Ray Olive), his brother Hyrum Smith (Casey Elliott), and four other men being held in Liberty Jail while they await trial for treason. The film's main character, played by Jasen Wade, is the jail's deputy jailer, Samuel Tillery.
Based on true accounts, the film tells its story using elements from western, prison-break, and Latter-day Saint film genres.
"On the American frontier, Joseph Smith and five other prisoners’ attempts to escape the dungeon of Liberty Jail are repeatedly thwarted by deputy jailer Samuel Tillery. While keeping the prisoners inside, Samuel is also busy keeping angry mobs outside from breaking in and killing the prisoners. As Samuel tries to keep the prisoners safely in jail until their day in court arrives, he begins to wonder whether or not justice might be given to them better in some other way."
The film opens with Joseph Smith speaking with his lawyer Alexander Doniphan about he and his fellow prisoner's upcoming trial. Below them, in the dungeon of the jail, the other five prisoners are planning an escape attempt. When the lawyer leaves, and the prisoners are brought up alongside Joseph, this first escape attempt fails, as Lyman Wight is too sick to make it out the door -- and the prisoners decide they cannot leave without him.
The next day, before another escape attempt, the prisoners receive visitors -- Porter Rockwell and Cyrus Daniels. This second escape attempt, like the first, fails when Tillery and his two guards fight against the prisoners and keep them locked inside. Hearing of this escape attempt, a mob from nearby Liberty comes for some frontier justice, to kill the prisoners for their escape attempt. The prisoners are defended by the jailer.
Porter Rockwell later returns to give the prisoners tools with which they begin to tunnel out of jail -- the beginning of a third escape attempt.
During the process of their tunneling out of jail, a court of inquiry is held in which it is decided if the prisoners will go to trial for treason. Court is held in a schoolhouse, as a mob intent on killing the prisoners prevented them from being brought into the courthouse, and the mob shows up to the courthouse to threaten the judge and the prisoners if the prisoners are to be let free. During the trial, Sidney Rigdon, representing himself, convinces Judge Turnham to let him free. The other prisoners return to jail.
It is discovered that the prisoners are tunneling out of jail, and their hole is filled in.
In a moment of despair, Joseph Smith prays for guidance, and receives comfort through revelation. This is the revelation later canonized in the Doctrine and Covenants scriptures as Section 121.
As the prisoners are being transported to another jail for trial their is a final showdown between the mob, the jailer, and the prisoners. After this showdown the prisoners are allowed to escape, by their jailer, Samuel Tillery.
- Jasen Wade as Samuel Tillery
- Brandon Ray Olive as Joseph Smith
- Casey Elliott as Hyrum Smith
- Brock Roberts as Sidney Rigdon
- Morgan Gunter as Lyman Wight
- Adam Johnson as Caleb Baldwin
- Danny James as Alexander McRae
- Corbin Allred as Porter Rockwell
Most of the events which are portrayed in the film come from historical records. Many of the events, however, were modified or altered for portrayal in the film. Following are a list of some of the events portrayed in the film, and how they are or are not historically accurate:
Escape Attempt with Cyrus Daniels
In Out of Liberty, there is a scene where the prisoners attempt to force their way out of prison while receiving visitors in the upstairs floor of the jail. This was an actual escape attempt which took place either on February 7th or 8th in 1839. In the movie, the prisoners are visited by Porter Rockwell and Cyrus Daniels. Historically, Porter Rockwell, though he visited Liberty Jail regularly, was not at this escape attempt -- it was Cyrus Daniels and five other men: Erastus Snow, William D. Huntington, David Holeman, Alanson Ripley, and Watson Barlow.
Escape Attempt with Augurs
In the film, the prisoners get caught tunneling out of the jail's dungeon when someone in town overhears Cyrus Daniels talking about fixing an augur handle for the prisoners. This augur was one of the tools the prisoners were using to tunnel out of the jail. The augurs were brought to the prisoners by Porter Rockwell, and the event is recorded as taking place on March 3, 1839. In a letter from prison dated March 25, 1839, Cyrus Daniels is not identified as the man who got caught. Joseph Smith simply identifies that man as a friend, and says, "had it not been for a little imprudence or over-anxiety on the part of our friend," in getting a replacement handle, that they could, "have made [their] escape in one minute."
In the film, there is a final showdown in which the prisoners, on their way to trial, face off against the mob which has been persecuting them while they were in jail. In the film, this showdown took place in front of Liberty Jail. This would have occurred on April 6, 1839. This showdown actually took place in front of the Daviess County courthouse. It did not result in the leader of the mob getting shot by Sam Tillery. Historical record shows that Joseph Smith walked into the mob stating, "We are in your hands; if we are guilty, we refuse not to be punished by the law," And, that the mob, which showed up to kill Joseph, miraculously was calmed.
Sean P. Means of The Salt Lake Tribune gave the film 3/4 stars, noting Brandon Ray Olive's "quiet soulfulness" in his portrayal of Joseph Smith.
Margaret Blair Young said "Out of Liberty" is, "one of the most significant films of the past decade, particularly for Latter-day Saints," and that it is, "a film which every LDS family (and perhaps every family) should see and take its children to see–ages twelve and up."
Rachel Wagner gave the film 8.5/10 stars and said it is, "a well written, moving character piece that is both a study of faith and a Western jailbreak survival story."
The film won 2nd place at the 2020 LDS Film Festival's "Feature Film Competition" behind T.C. Christensen's film The Fighting Preacher.
The film was nominated for 8 Utah Film Nominations through the Utah Film Awards. Those nominations were in: Picture, Director, Ensemble Cast, Actor, Supporting Actor, Cinematography, Music and Sound.
- "IMDb Page". Retrieved November 22, 2019.
- Toone, Trent (September 12, 2019). "'Out of Liberty' is historically accurate but meant to be a 'Western jailbreak thriller,' director says". Deseret News. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
- Keim, Amy (September 2, 2019). "You NEED to See the New LDS Film "Out of Liberty"". Retrieved November 23, 2019.
- Roberts, B.H. (1978). History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Deseret Book Company. p. 257-258. Search this book on
- Roberts, B.H. (1978). History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Deseret Book Company. p. 292-293. Search this book on
- Roberts, B.H. (1978). History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Deseret Book Company. p. 258-259. Search this book on
- Means, Sean (September 12, 2019). "Review: 'Out of Liberty' mines LDS history for solid morality tale". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
- Young, Margaret Blair (October 6, 2019). "Out of Liberty–SEE IT NOW!". Retrieved November 22, 2019.
- Wagner, Rachel (September 21, 2019). "'Out of Liberty' REVIEW". Retrieved November 23, 2019.
- Fox, Doug (March 1, 2020). "LDS Film Festival awards list". Retrieved March 4, 2020.
Out of Liberty
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