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Watch The American Frontier online: Episode 8 The Donner Party

George Donner and James Reed uprooted their families and sought the fertile soil of California in 1846. Rather than take the Oregon Trail, the Donner Party chose to heed an open letter by someone who promised to show them a shorter route. It was the first ill-fated decision in a succession of decisions that made The Donner Party suffer bitterly during a most bleak winter.

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