The story of the Donner Party is an important part of American history, not for what the pioneers did, but as an object lesson to show us what hardships befell our westward-bound ancestors and what fortitude was necessary to overcome those hardships. Their 1846 journey was supposed to take them 2,500 miles from Springfield, Ill., to San Francisco. They didn't have cars or airplanes, only Conestoga wagons drawn by oxen. This was to be a six-month trip, not, as it turned out, a two-year journey.
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