This DVD of the American Experience from PBS tells the story of the Donner Party, the ambitious group who traveled from Illinois to California in 1846. Beginning in the spring, the group split off from the rest of the emigrants to take an alternate route across the Great Basin. They went through blizzards and food shortages before reaching their destination in late October. Of the 87 original members of the Donner Party, only 46 survived. Their story is told through archival photographs, paintings, and maps, with letters and diary selections read by actors such as Timothy Hutton, Frances Sternhagen, and George Plimpton.