Crossroads In The West: The Intersections Of The Donner Party And The Mormons

Sierra Nevada Mountains

Publication: Brigham Young University Studies

Author: Guy L. Dorius



The histories written of western migration in the United States have sufficiently told the story of the ill-fated Donner Party. Most students of history are well acquainted with their entrapment by the snows of the Sierra Nevada Mountains during the winter of 1846-47. The facts of the party’s suffering, death, and cannibalism are well documented and have often been recounted. Therefore, the purpose of this work is not to reiterate that history. Instead, this article will examine an area of this history less known yet no less significant to Latter-day Saint history. The reader will discover a few moments in time where the paths of the Donner Party and the Mormons crossed and mingled to become part of the fabric of both histories.