The Donner Party. The mistakes and mishaps

Essay by Anonymous UserJunior High, 9th gradeA+, March 1996

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Was the Donner Party a huge tragedy, or a fatal mistake just waiting to happen to anyone?

When George Donner, and his brother Jake took the advice of a man they did not know, they felt confident in his word. He told them of a trail that was supposedly faster than the popular California Trail. They took his advice and set off. The party left with an abundant amount of food and supplies. The party looked no different from any other except for one wagon that stood out from the others. It was three stories tall and had an attic to store clothes and food. The party left from Little Sandy, Illinois, on July 20,1846. The group had Americans, Germans and a few other foreigners.

The group was to start on the California Trail and then go to the left at the Little Sandy Creek. Everyone felt confident with the decision to go on the unnamed, unheard-of trail.

The Donner brothers thought they would arrive at the Sierra mountain range by at least September, and at most late October. Most of the families brought only food, clothes, and important items. However the ones those brought extra items would soon find that they were punished severely by the rough trails and stricken with oxen. The going was smooth for a long time. The only problems were a few broken wheels, and axles. The oxen were showing great strength and power, and seemed to be pulling harder as the days went by. The food was staying fresh, and nobody was ever Hungry. Was this really the trail that Lanford Hastings promised to the Donners'? Everyone felt great and was happy to see that they were ahead of schedule.

However, the party realized their great luck would not last them the whole...