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Hastings Cutoff Documentary
Retracing the Fateful Steps of the Donner-Reed Party 

Link to Hastings Cutoff Documentary

Travel back in time and experience the adventure as three interns retrace the fateful steps of the Donner-Reed Party, traveling the ninety-mile waterless stretch of the California Trail known as Hastings Cutoff.

This alternate route, sold as a 'shortcut' across the Great Salt Desert (Utah) by Lansford W. Hastings in 1846, proved devastating for the Donner-Reed Party and many who attempted the perilous journey.

Losing half of their cattle and several wagons to the Utah desert, the party arrived late and unprepared when they reached the Sierra Nevadas. After 1850, the dangerous Hastings Cutoff was abandoned in favor of newer and safer routes to California.

Now designated as a National Historic Trail, Hastings Cutoff is considered by many as the most arduous stretch of Western migration trail in the United States.

More information on the California National Historic Trail is available here - on.doi.gov/1ryaH7d


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