The History Files #41: The Donner Party

57 mins - Published Wed, Jan 27, 2016 by Gordon Frye and Nancy Frye

This week for our main topic we take a look at the ill-fated Donner party and their misbegotten attempt to cross the Sierras into California in… October. Although these tragic events later found a place in the folklore of the American West, in 1846 it was just a horrific series of terrible decisions resulting in the deaths of around 50% of the participants, many of them children. Sadly, the tragedy could have been avoided had it not been for the overweening hubris of the group’s leaders. As Gordon says, “You can ignore reality, but you can’t ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.”

Show notes and links:

Sponsored by:

  • Audible.com, the best place on the Internet for audiobooks. Listeners of The History Files can get a free audiobook download and 30 day free trial! Over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or mp3 player.


The History Files

The History Files is a weekly show dedicated to history of all eras. Join historian Gordon Frye and various guests as they discuss history in the news, in the media, in literature, in politics, and just about anywhere else of interest.

If you want to get in touch with the people behind the episode or talk to others who like it, feel free to join the CSICONauts chat room. Alternatively, you can find some of this episode's hosts and/or guests on Twitter: Nancy Frye. The show also has its own Twitter account at @history_files.

Subscribe: Goodreads, RSS, Twitter and iTunes.