DiscoverThe Mile 99 InterviewEpisode 56 - Donner Relief Expedition
Episode 56 - Donner Relief Expedition

Episode 56 - Donner Relief Expedition

Update: 2022-01-21


After the seven survivors of the Forlorn Hope Party broke through to Johnson Ranch on January 18th, 1847 after a harrowing 33-day trek where 8 members perished, relief parties were mustered to try and retrieve the remaining survivors of the Donner Party. The first of four relief parties departed Johnson Ranch on February 4th, 1847, with mules and provisions. As the frigid winter and rugged Sierra terrain persisted, their numbers dwindled to seven men who summoned their determination and humanity, eventually reaching the buried cabins on the edge of Donner Lake on February 18th, 1847. Upon arriving they encountered silence and saw nothing but snowdrifts 20 feet deep. A lone dark figure emerged from the snow and in a frail women’s voice said, “Are you men from California or do you come from heaven?” Thus began the rescue of the Donner Party. 

The Relief Parties are a lesser-known part of the Donner saga. The grit and selflessness of these men who risked their lives for strangers is a tale of inspiration and intrigue. Bob Crowley, Tim Twietmeyer, Jennifer Hemmen, and Elke Reimer explored the multi-dimensional persona of each of the relief party members; their history, character, and motivation. With this, they linked together the relief route based on historic records. To honor the true grit and selflessness of the relief parties the Donner Relief Expedition will set off on February 14, 2022, from Johnson Ranch on mules and foot and head east over the Sierra Nevada to the Donner State Park Museum exactly 175 years to the day of the arrival of the 1st Relief Party. Come and take a seat by the campfire and listen to what this crew has planned. AND CATCH WHO WILL BE FILMING!!!

Forlorn Hope website:

Facebook page:

Expedition team bios:

Donner Party Diaries site:

Tracking link here: 

Your hosts: Jessica Harris / Greg Larkin / Mike Turner 

Artwork/logo by Krista Cavender: | IG:

Intro/outro music: Joseph McDade - Elevation:

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Episode 56 - Donner Relief Expedition

Episode 56 - Donner Relief Expedition

The Mile 99 Interview