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Episode 14 - The Siren Call of the West - The Donner Party (1846)

Uploaded: 7 May 2018

Many factors  drove families to emigrate in nineteenth century America. Be it escaping debts, chasing fame and fortune,  dodging disease or even belief in a higher destiny, sometimes the pressure of those forces can be simply too great.

And if someone claims he can make the journey a bit easier, then you have that extra incentive to get in your wagon and go.

This episode tells the frankly horrifying story of a group of pioneers headed for the supposed paradise of the West Coast and California (then under Mexico's rule). Complacency, deceit and rank betrayal all have their parts to play in this stunning soap opera of the human spirit at the very edge.

It's difficult to see how a journey could have gone any worse.

The fateful pamphlet produced by Lansford Hastings that drew the Donner Party to their doom

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