Lafferty Family Tree, Explained

Image Credit: Michelle Faye/FX

FX on Hulu’s crime series ‘Under the Banner of Heaven’ centers around the murders of Brenda Lafferty and her 15-month-old daughter Erica Lafferty. Detectives Jeb Pyre and Bill Taba begin their investigation by interrogating Brenda’s husband and Erica’s father, Allen Lafferty. As the investigation progresses, Pyre and Bill realize that the Laffertys are heavily involved in the double homicide. In a parallel storyline, the show offers an intricate look at the members of the Laffertys. If you are perplexed about the relationships of the Laffertys within their big family, let us try to decode it for you!

Lafferty Family Tree

In the show, Ammon Lafferty is the father and Doreen Lafferty is the mother of Allen Lafferty, Brenda’s husband and Erica’s father. Ammon and Doreen are fictionalized versions of Watson Lafferty Sr. and Claudine Lafferty, the patriarch and matriarch of the Lafferty family respectively. They married on June 6, 1940, in the Salt Lake LDS Temple. Watson Sr. worked as a chiropractor. They had six sons and two daughters. According to the eponymous book by Jon Krakauer, the source text of the show, the father guided his children to the strict practice of Mormonism.


Ron Lafferty, the eldest of the eight children, married Dianna. When Dianna refused to practice polygamy, their marriage started to get troubled. As per the book, Dianna obtained a divorce from Ron with the help of former LDS Relief Society president Chloe Low, Highland LDS Stake president Richard Stowe, and Ron’s brother Allen’s wife Brenda. After the divorce, she moved to Florida with their six children. He reportedly died of natural causes in 2019 while in prison on death row. The show or the book doesn’t offer any significant details about the two Lafferty daughters, Colleen and Kathleen.

Image Credit: KSL TV

Dan Lafferty is the second son of Watson Sr. and Claudine. Like his father, Dan was a chiropractor and took over his father’s practice with brother Mark when he left the family for a church mission. Dan married Matilda, whom he met during a two-year mission to Scotland. Matilda was the mother of two children at the time. They married at Provo Utah Temple and the couple had four children together. According to Krakauer’s book, Dan wanted to marry Matilda’s oldest daughter – his step-daughter – which didn’t materialize.

As per reporters, Dan and Matilda got separated. The former is currently in Utah State Prison, serving a life sentence, after getting convicted for two counts of first-degree murder and four other felonies. Mark Lafferty, Allen’s brother, doesn’t feature in the show. However, the character Robin Lafferty may partially be based on him. The character Lynn Lafferty, Robin’s wife, can be based on Mark’s wife Lanna as well. Likewise, Tim and his wife Teena aren’t in the show. Allen’s seemingly fictional brother Jacob can be inspired by Tim.

Image Credit: Deseret Morning News Archives

Watson Jr. and his wife Keri are also not present in Dustin Lance Black’s show. However, a significant character named Samuel AKA Sam Lafferty, Allen’s brother in the show, can be based on Watson Jr. Meanwhile, Sam’s wife Sarah can be inspired by Keri. After Brenda and Erica’s murders, Allen eventually started a family with Heidi. As of 2015, the couple was settled in Saratoga Springs, Utah.

When Claudine died in 2016, she had around 60 grandchildren, 156 great-grandchildren, and 14 great-great-grandchildren with 1 more expected. The Lafferty family is an enormous family, with seemingly more than 200 members. Since Brenda and Erica’s murders, the members of the family have chosen to keep their lives private, especially in light of the global attention the double murder case garnered.

Read More: What is the Meaning of Under the Banner of Heaven Title?