The Perilous Journey of the Donner Party - Chapter 3 Summary & Analysis

Marian Calabro
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James Reed was a particularly fierce advocate of following their Emigrants' Guide. The book suggested shaving about four hundred miles off the journey by going south around the Great Salt Lake instead of north along the beaten path to Fort Hall.

The Emigrants' Guide was written by a man named Lansford Warren Hastings. He had no personal knowledge of the shortcut he was urging in his book, which became known as the Lansford Cutoff. In fact, the Cutoff was an impossible route to take by wagon. Hastings was somewhat of a con man with delusions of grandeur. He wrote his book in order to attract people to California, where he dreamed of establishing an independent nation with himself as emperor.

On July 20, the Donner Party took an all-male vote on whether to take the Hastings Cutoff or the more established route to Fort Hall. The...

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This section contains 413 words
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