The Rediscovery of Johnson’s Ranch (Reprinted from 1986)

Donner Camp site


“The Rediscovery of Johnson’s Ranch,” written by the father and son team of Jack and Richard Steed, respectively, appeared in the Winter 1986 (Vol. 4, no. 1) issue of Overland Journal. It is now the final article in our series celebrating the Oregon Trail (1853–2018). The Steeds’ article describes the place many emigrants considered the “end of the California trail,” a ranch site along the Bear River in present-day Yuba County. Until the Steeds studied the site and published the history that follows, little had been written about the ranch or its owners—the place from which rescue teams in 1847 set out to search for the snow-bound Donner Party.