In the 1840s, thousands of Americans journeyed west to California to pursue better lives. One group of settlers became infamous: the Donner Party. After taking an unproven shortcut, their wagon train fell dangerously behind schedule. If they couldn’t cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains before winter came, they risked getting trapped in the snow and starving. But as pressure mounted for the wagons to move faster, tensions among the settlers would explode into violence.