Donner, Party of One: Your Documentary Is Airring!
The wintery scene opens in a high alpine setting; it’s mid-December and supplies have run extremely low. The rapid succession of snowstorms has limited access to the outside world. Even the toughest mountaineers feel trapped in the unforgiving terrain, that seems to be closing in by the minute. . . .
While some Leadville residents might call this desperate scene: Tuesdays in winter, for the producers of the 2-hour documentary about the infamous Donner party, it’s the scene that gave an “Open Call” for Leadville extras and local talent. The production company choose Leadville, because as the Highest City in North America, it was most likely to have the necessary snow for the storyline. And as usual The Cloud City didn’t disappoint.
Some Leadville talent was cast in supporting roles, and their BIG moment is about be realized.
“If they don’t cut the last scene, you’ll never look at me the same way (and you might have trouble sleeping!),” posted Leadville actress Laurel McHargue on the Leadville Today Facebook Page.
The Weather Channel documentary airs, starting Thanksgiving Weekend. The first scheduled time is listed as Friday, Nov. 27 at 7 p.m. (local) on The Weather Channel.
ABOUT THE DONNER PARTY:
According to Wikipedia:
“The Donner Party was a group of American pioneers who set out for California in a wagon train. Delayed by a series of mishaps, they spent the winter of 1846–47 snowbound in the Sierra Nevadas. Some of the migrants resorted to cannibalism to survive, eating those who had succumbed to starvation and sickness.
The journey west usually took between five and six months, but the Donner Party was slowed by following a new route called Hastings Cutoff, which crossed Utah’s Wasatch Mountains and Great Salt Lake Desert. The rugged terrain, and difficulties encountered while traveling along the Humboldt River in present-day Nevada, resulted in the loss of many cattle and wagons, and splits within the group.
By the beginning of November 1846 the emigrants had reached the Sierra Nevada, where they became trapped by an early, heavy snowfall near Truckee (now Donner) Lake, high in the mountains. Their food supplies ran extremely low, and in mid-December some of the group set out on foot to obtain help. Rescuers from California attempted to reach the emigrants, but the first relief party did not arrive until the middle of February 1847, almost four months after the wagon train became trapped. Of the 87 members of the party, 48 survived to reach California.
Historians have described the episode as one of the most bizarre and spectacular tragedies in Californian history and in the record of western migration.”