A historically accurate reenactment of the ill-fated Donner Party as told by the survivors and recovered diaries. Students meet the members of the Donner Party and discover the reasons behind their desire to journey to California from Illinois. After traveling alone for seven days, they meet up with other emigrates and travel with them. Their journey begins with ease and little misfortune. However, the Donner Party soon faces hardship after making a decision to follow a new route called Hastings Cutoff, which crossed Utah’s Wasatch Mountains and Great Salt Lake Desert. Part one of “The Hard Road West” series.