The decades of the 1940s and 1950s saw considerable conflict between the fundamentalists and government officials, as well as some internal conflict. In 1953 a raid by the Arizona state government to break up the community by taking children away from parents was a dismal failure. Though 263 children were seized, within three years all had been returned to their families in what had become an expensive and unpopular public embarrassment. The raid was traumatic for all and today has gained legendary status. This would also represent the last legal prosecution of fundamentalists affiliated with the Short Creek community for practicing plural marriage.
In 1961 an oiled road was finished from Hurricane, Utah, to Fredonia, Arizona. This opened access to Short Creek and in a symbolic way exposed the fundamentalists to the world. The name of the location was officially changed the following year to Colorado City for the Arizona side and Hildale for the Utah side. Hildale was incorporated as a Utah town in 1962. The area has grown, and the combined communities numbered more than 4,000 residents in 1995.
Education is important to the fundamentalists with about 1,500 students enrolled in elementary and secondary schools in the two communities. College also is considered important and the United Effort Plan often financially assists students to attend college and apply their skills for the common good. Some students enroll at Dixie College or at Southern Utah University, but most attend the branch of Mojave Community College in Colorado City. Recently the fundamentalists of Colorado City opened the John Y. Barlow University. As yet unaccredited, it aspires to become a much larger center of learning for its members.