Donner Party Essay

500 Words2 Pages
The Donner party left Springfield Illinois on April 14, 1846. The group consisted of 16 grown ups, 16 kids, many horses, cattle, dogs, and 9 covered wagons pulled by oxen. They packed food sufficient enough for six months. During the journey west, the wagon train is joined by severeal others. Eventually, the stop at the Big Blue River and are unable to cross. While waiting for the river to go down, Virginia’s grandma passes and is buried in the wilderness; the party then crosses the river by making rafts for the wagons. Later on, they arrive at Fort Laramie and celebrate the Fourth of July. At Fort Bridger, the party learns about a route called the Hasting Cutoff, which was supposed to shorten the trip, and after much arguing James Reed and 73 others decide to take this way. The others decide to continue on the original trail. The Donners arrive at Weber Canyon and find a note from Lansford Hastings telling them to not take the cutoff. The Graves party then joins the caravan. While taking the Hasting Cutoff, the wagon train remains in camp while James Reed, Stanton, and Pike search for Hastings for some advice. The train then reaches the Great Salt Lake and crosses the desert, but the cattle and oxen stampeded when they smelled water. They try to find the animals but are unsuccessful, and are then forced to abandon some of their wagons. Before leaving camp, the group takes an inventory on food and find that they are on a great shortage. Charles Stanton and William McCutchen bravely volunteer to journey to Sutter’s Fort, near Sacramento, and bring back some supplies. When the party reaches Humboldt River, something awful happens. James Reed kills John Snyder in an argument and is banished from the wagon train. He makes his way to Sutter’s Fort. Travel becomes extremely difficult when
Open Document