The Donner Party left Independence on this day headed for California. A phony map and bad advice left them stranded in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in winter where they resorted to cannibalism for survival.

This post was contributed by Ross Malone. A historian and a retired school teacher, Ross has authored many books about Missouri’s history, weird facts, and folk tales. He has also written children’s historical fiction. Visit his website, and buy his books in the Missouri Life store.