The Donner Party

The Result Of Great Tragedy

The Unsuccessful Journey

Traveling all over to other places in search for something special is thought of as exotic and different. When people move, most would expect to make new lives and to create something special with the new people they meet. In the nineteenth century, it was not quite that easy. People from all over the world wanted to move to California in search for land, money, and new jobs. Deadly paths were taken in order for a successful outcome, which did not quite end in a happy result.. Would you risk everything in order to create a new life in a unknown territory?


The Donner Party consisted of 87 people who went through one of the worst winters of the Sierra Nevada region when they were setting out to California in the search for a free life, and more land. In order to reach their destination, groups of people who carried all of their belongings on wagons would need to set off from their homeland to California. They had be willing to travel through unknown terrain in order to start a new life in an unknown place, and a man who was willing to give a map through an unknown shortcut could have been their time savior, or perhaps he could’ve been their life changer.


Lansford Hastings was a man who had thought of a shorter path through the Nevada Mountain Range that people from all over the United States could take, and when he gave out the map, he did not know what the risks were due to him never taking the shortcut himself. He had simply lied to many people just so that they could get to California “faster”. The shortcut was supposed to save time so that people were able to reach California faster than the path that most travelers had been taking for years. Instead of people being able to reach their destination in a short period of months, it took almost a year, more than double the time that Hastings had led on.


As the 87 men, women, and children had traveled to various locations in seek for the new unknown path which they were unaware of, they were faced with many complications that caused them setbacks and struggles that would face half of them with the situations between life and death. The second leader of the party, George Donner, had faced the decision to lead the other 86 people through unknown territory in the last days in the year of 1846 and the early weeks of 1847. Throughout the journey, many lives were lost, and things that a person would never expect to have to do happened. Wagons broke, animals ran off into the mountain tops, and people resulted in cannibalism just so that they could survive. As food ran out, people began to starve and their stomachs ached of hunger and hope that they would soon be rescued from the five feet of snow that devoured the now less than 87 travelers. It was then that they had thought about eating the dead. Corpses were removed from the ground, tore apart, cooked over a fire, and then they had been eaten by the survivors. Families were forced to eat their deceased loved ones, or they would soon themselves end up the same way. The name “The Donner Party” was given to the great tragedy due to the leader, George Donner. People were so willing to risk their lives just to have a new beginning, and the results ended in one of the saddest stories know to American history.


Today, the Donner party impacts today's life when looking at the immigration from other countries all around the world. People from many different countries try to escape their homes in search of a new lifestyle in the Unites States where they are able to earn jobs and better living grounds. Many people come the the United States to work as laborers, or take the lower paying jobs just so that they are able to survive. When crossing borders to the United States from other countries, there are many dangers that people are willing to take just so that they are able to live a life in a better community where they are able to care for their families in safer environments. Path's through hot desserts and rough mountain like terrain can be taken by immigrants, which causes their life at risk. No matter how dangerous and how risky traveling to the United States can be, people are willing to take unknown paths just so that they can live a better and more stable life.

Donner Party People And The Path They Took

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A Brief Historical Word About The Donner Party

The Donner Party: A Quick History