Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Donner Party

A while back, we read Patty Reed's Doll as part of our California/Western Expansion study.  Over the weekend we watched the Ric Burns film, The Donner Party, which was originally aired on PBS as an American Experience documentary.  The film is 90 minutes in length and documents the journey of the Donner Party traveling to California.  Their story is heartbreaking!  Resorting to cannibalism to survive, it's not for the faint at heart.  Patty Reed's Doll does not tell about this part of their adventure so it is more appropriate for younger children than the film.   However, their story is an important part of American history and The Donner Party could be viewed by mature middle and high school students.  

From the back cover...
This haunting film tells the story of the ill-fated party of pioneers and their doomed attempt to get to California in 1846.  More than just a riveting tale of death, endurance and survival, the Donner Party's nightmarish journey penetrated to the very heart of the American dream at a crucial phase of the nation's "manifest destiny."  Touching some of the most powerful social, economic and political currents of the time, this extraordinary narrative remains one of the most compelling and enduring episodes to come out of the West. 
Though some of the incident is unimaginable, we enjoyed the film and found it very educational. 

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