Relations between the Mormons (Latter-day Saints) and the US government were tense and suspicious when a band of 140 emigrants from Arkansas passed through southern Utah in September 1857 on their way to California. They camped in a valley called Mountain Meadows and were attacked by Paiute Indians. They drew their wagons into a circle, dug trenches, and defended themselves for several days. Then a group of white men approached and offered to escort them to safety if they would disarm. As soon as they handed over their guns, they were murdered on the spot; only 17 infants were spared. The Mormons later admitted that they had directed the Indian attack and were responsible for the wanton killings, but it was not until 1874 that John Doyle Lee (1812-77), a fanatical Mormon who apparently led the killers, was arrested. Convicted of murder, Lee was executed at Mountain Meadows in 1877.