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American Experience; Donner Party, The


repackaged for season 9

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American Experience
Donner Party, The
Program Number


Series Description

Premiered October 1988 As television's longest-running, most-watched history series, American Experience brings to life the incredible characters and epic stories that helped form this nation. Now in its eighteenth season, the series has produced over 180 programs and garnered every major broadcast award. Series release date: 10/1988

Program Description

This program tells the tale of a group of 87 men, women and children led in part by the Donner family on a legendary journey that began in 1846, from Illinois to California. When family leaders made the fateful decision to take an untried short cut, the expedition foundered. What began as a prosperous caravan ended in a terrifying tale of death, madness and cannibalism. But there was also extraordinary bravery - over half the party would reach California after surviving the worst winter ever recorded in the High Sierras.



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Chicago: “American Experience; Donner Party, The,” 01/17/1997, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed October 24, 2016, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_8AE836FBA85C4283A95B90DB965BA016.
MLA: “American Experience; Donner Party, The.” 01/17/1997. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. October 24, 2016. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_8AE836FBA85C4283A95B90DB965BA016>.
APA: American Experience; Donner Party, The. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_8AE836FBA85C4283A95B90DB965BA016
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