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ACROSS THE PLAINS IN THE DONNER PARTY
by Virginia Reed
Edited by Karen Zeinert

 ~ Available in Paperback ~

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This tragic story of Virginia Reed’s journey west is told through her memoirs of the 12 year-old girl, with supplementary accounts based on her father's letters and the diary of another traveler.

 

From Across the Plains in the Donner Party...

   Unlike many other wagon trains, the Donner party did not have a guide, nor did anyone in the group have any idea of the difficulties that awaited them. None of them had ever undertaken a two-thousands-mile overland trip before, nor had they ever seen a desert that took days to cross or mountains the size of the Sierras, which are over 8,000 feet tall. None of them had experienced a mountain blizzard, either, which, unlike Midwestern snowstorms, could last for a week at a time, depositing unbelievable amounts of snow each day and stranding travelers until spring. Confident that they could handle any problems that came their way, the party, with its heavily loaded wagons, chose to proceed at a leisurely pace instead of pushing across the plains as rapidly as possible. This choice proved to be disastrous.
   The Donner party's journey to California is one of the most interesting and intriguing stories in American history. It is a life-and-death struggle full of heroes and villains that is still surrounded by questions and controversy even though it occurred 150 years ago and has been studied closely by many historians.

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