The Donner Party (2009)

R  |   |  Drama  |  23 October 2009 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.1/10 from 755 users  
Reviews: 21 user | 5 critic

Based on the real events of The Donner Party tragedy. The Donner Party was a group of California-bound American settlers caught up in the western expansion of the 1840s. After becoming ... See full summary »


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Cast overview:
William Foster
William Eddy
Amanda McCutchen
Franklin Graves
Patrick Dolan
Ann Fosdick
Eleanor Eddy
Milt McCutchen
Jay Fosdick
Mary Graves
Sarah Foster


Based on the real events of The Donner Party tragedy. The Donner Party was a group of California-bound American settlers caught up in the western expansion of the 1840s. After becoming snowbound in the Sierra Nevada during the winter of 1846-1847, a number of the trapped settlers joined together in a final effort to reach California and organize a rescue party. Written by Anacapa Entertainment

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Survival Lies Within



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violence

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

23 October 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Forlorn  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


After the group leaves with Stanton, when Graves attacks Fosdick, Fosdick's hat falls off as they hit the ground. When the camera angle changes, it's back on his head. Then when the camera angle changes again, it's gone. See more »

Crazy Credits

The last two minutes of credits are accompanied only by the sound of a strong wind. See more »


Referenced in Zombies: A Living History (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

Only for the Desperate...
11 May 2012 | by (Brazil) – See all my reviews

The only reason I finished this movie was that I was waiting for it to get better. At one point I paused it and saw there was only 15 minutes left and was so bored I fast-forwarded through the rest.

I expected one of two things, a movie out to entertain through shock value or an American Epic. I got neither. Therein lies the problem; the movie's scope simply isn't grand enough. With all the drama, betrayal, tragedy, desperation, and heartbreak that occurred during these events you'd think that you'd see some of it on screen. I'm no expert on the Donner Party, but as I understand the trip took months just to get to the point the film starts up. Where it proceeds to tell a small 2 week time frame about the hardships of the people who made an attempt at being rescued.

This could have been a sprawling epic of the American Pioneer days on par with 'Dances with Wolves', yet we only get to see the small group and how hungry they are. That's it. We see nothing of what happened to the 30+ people back at the camp. I heard they had to resort to eating leather clothes and bones boiled so many times over they became brittle and edible, none of that made it into the film. If you cut out all of the establishing shots of snow and trees the movie wouldn't have even been an hour long.

Bottom line, read the Wikipedia article, skip the movie.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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