On a sunny afternoon in May living history season kicked off at This Is the Place Heritage Park on Salt Lake City’s eastern edge. In one corner of the park Joel Newton, a mountain man hobbyist who looked a little like a buckskin-robed version of Obi-Wan Kenobi, offered impromptu lessons in tomahawk throwing. He kept a watchful eye as a young boy picked up a hatchet, took aim at a nine of hearts nailed to a stump, and — clank! — sent the tomahawk bouncing off the top of the target.
“He’s a flinger,” Mr. Newton growled.
Then a teenage girl dressed head to toe in black hefted a tomahawk and stepped into her throw with absolute assuredness. Her hatchet sailed into the target with a resounding “thwock.”
“Now that,” Mr. Newton declared, “is authoritative.”