The Donner Party

The Donner Party is a 1992 documentary film that traces the history of the Donner Party, an ill-fated pioneer group that trekked from Springfield, Illinois to Sutter's Fort, California - a disastrous journey of 2500 miles made famous by the tales of cannibalism the survivors told upon reaching their destination. The film, narrated by David McCullough, premiered at the Telluride Mountainfilm Festival in May 1992 with an introductory lecture on the Donner Party by noted Western historian David Lavender. It subsequently aired on PBS as part of the American Experience program in October, 1992. It was funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities.


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    director Ric Burns
    editor Bruce Shaw
    genre western
    musicBy Brian Keane
    producer Lisa Ades Ric Burns
    publisher Steeplechase Films
    theme documentary