The Donner Trail Game


The Cannibals: Myth & Reality exhibit is full of surprising facts. Cannibals aren’t who you think they are.

The tragedy of the Donner Party is a classic story of the American frontier—how a group of migrant families banded together to journey from the Midwest to California, and through a series of bad decisions and misfortune, found themselves stranded in unforgiving terrain.

George Donner, a successful farmer, was enticed by the prospect of a new and shorter route to wealth, fertile land, and warm climate in California. In 1846, Donner decided to pack up his wife and family and head west. George’s brother Jacob, and his family, joined them, along with James Reed, an immigrant from Ireland, and his family.

Bad luck and bad decisions were the undoing of the Donner Party. That winter, they found themselves trapped in deep and unrelenting snow in the Sierra Nevadas. But unlike so many other groups that perished during their journeys, the Donner Party became notorious because they ate their dead to survive.

Could you make better choices? Click here to play our one-of-a-kind Donner Trail web game.

More About Cannibals

After playing the game, check out the full Cannibals: Myth & Reality exhibit! You’ll love it.