The Oregon Trail and the Donner Party

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  • The Oregon Trail and the Donner Party
    • The journey west
      • 3200km long
      • Migrants needed to complete the journey by the winter
      • Crossing the Plains - v dangerous; sandstorms, quicksand, extreme heat, storms, disease, stampeding buffalo & lack of supplies
      • Migrants began the trail in April - enough grass for their animals
      • Needed to bring enough food for the journey
      • Early migrants used explorers/Indians as guides; later they relied on booklets/maps
      • Each trail crossed 2 mountain ranges - Rockies & Sierra Nevada
        • Steep, no where to hunt and weather could be bad
    • The Donner Party
      • led by Jacob & George Donner
        • Left Missouri for California in May 1846 with 60 wagons and 300 ppl
      • Wagon train - well equipped - but had more women, children and elderly ppl than normal
      • At Fort Bridger 80 people tried to make a short cut
        • 300 cattle dies and one man killed another
        • Arrived late in the Sierra Nevada mountains and were trapped by heavy snow
          • A group was sent for help but took 32 days to reach Johnson's Ranch
        • To survive, both groups ate their dead.
        • Rescue parties found them in January 1847


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