American Experience (1988– )
8.5/10
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7 user 1 critic

The Donner Party 

Doomed attempt to get to California in 1846. More than just a riveting tale of death, endurance and survival. The Donner Party's nightmarish journey penetrated to the very heart of the ... See full summary »

Director:

Ric Burns

Writer:

Ric Burns
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Cast

Episode credited cast:
David McCullough ... Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
J.D. Cannon ... (voice)
Timothy Hutton ... (voice)
Gene Jones ... (voice)
Amy Madigan ... (voice)
Donal McCann ... (voice)
George Plimpton ... (voice)
Paul Roebling Paul Roebling ... (voice)
Lois Smith ... (voice)
Frances Sternhagen ... (voice)
Eli Wallach ... George McKinstry (voice)
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Storyline

Doomed attempt to get to California in 1846. More than just a riveting tale of death, endurance and survival. The Donner Party's nightmarish journey penetrated to the very heart of the American Dream at a crucial phase of the nation's "manifest destiny. Touching some of the most powerful social, economic and political currents of the time, this extraordinary narrative remains one of the most compelling and enduring episodes to come out of the West. Written by Joshua Mueller

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Details

Official Sites:

PBS | PBS [United States]

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 October 1992 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Steeplechase Films, WGBH See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Soundtracks

Children on the Hill
Composed and Performed by Harold Budd
Courtesy of Upala Music, Inc. and Warner Bros. Records
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
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User Reviews

 
A Modern Horror Classic
25 December 2018 | by kathryn_aegisSee all my reviews

Ric Burns documentary is based on diaries, correspondence and historical photographs. The diary entries are read by a cast of famous actors to a haunting classical score to relate the horrific series of events that befell the Donner Party. The story is well known, but this film draws the viewer into the events on a very personal level. As a result, this documentary has become well known to fans of the horror film genre.


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