Andrew Garfield stars as Detective Jeb Pyre in the new series "Under the Banner of Heaven" on FX and Hulu alongside Daisy Edgar-Jones as a murdered woman named Brenda Lafferty. Under the guidance of creator Dustin Lance Black, the miniseries delves into the events that led to Brenda's 1984 murder as Det. Pyre tries to figure out exactly what went down on that fateful day. It's a true crime story that already has people wondering how true it is. Here's what we know.
Is "Under the Banner of Heaven" a True Story?
"Under the Banner of Heaven" is based on the nonfiction book "Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith" by Jon Krakauer, the same author who penned "Into the Wild" (later made into a movie starring Emile Hirsch). The book is based on true events from 1984. The story gives insight into Mormon Fundamentalists in remote towns and specifically describes the double murder of Brenda and her baby daughter.
What Happened to Brenda Lafferty?
The real-life Brenda Wright Lafferty was murdered in the 1980s, and her brothers in law, Ron and Dan Lafferty, were convicted of the crime, according to local Utah news network Fox 13. Ron, a self-proclaimed prophet, "beat her, wrapped a vacuum cord around her neck and slit her throat," according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Then, Dan slit the throat of Brenda's 15-month-old daughter, Erica.
According to Fox, Ron claimed he was ordered by God to kill Brenda and her 15-month-old daughter. Problems had arisen after Brenda, who was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, disagreed with Ron's beliefs. Previously a member of the church, Ron was excommunicated and created his own fundamentalist religious sect. After Ron's marriage fell apart and his wife left him and took their kids, Ron reportedly spiraled into his religious beliefs. He also blamed Brenda for his marriage falling apart, according to the "Salt Lake Tribune."
Both brothers were eventually found guilty in a Utah court, and Ron admitted that he believed his conviction was a result of the church, the state, and "unseen spiritual forces" all conspiring against him, the "Salt Lake Tribune" reported. Ron was given the death penalty, while Dan was given life in prison. Ron died of natural causes in 2019, and Dan remains in prison.
Is Det. Pyre a Real Person?
Garfield leads the series as a detective who is also a member of the church, but it seems as if the character is fictional.